Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dolphins sign NT Chris Baker to practice squad

A day after waiving defensive end Lionel Dotson injured,the Miami Dolphins have brought a new face to the defensive line, signing nose tackle Chris Baker to the practice squad.

Baker takes the practice squad spot vacated by linebacker Austin Spitler, who was promoted to the active roster before last Monday's game.

The addition of Baker gives the Dolphins a full eight-man practice squad, which currently leaves no room for guard Ray Feinga, who was promoted to the practice squad last week but waived before the game to make room for Spitler.



Background


Once a promising defensive lineman at Penn State, Baker was kicked off the Nittany Lions' squad in July 2008 after recurring off-the-field incidents.

After one season as an All-MEAC nose tackle for the Hampton Pirates, Baker declared for the 2009 NFL Draft. However, he was not selected.

Baker signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent and made the team's active roster following the preseason. He appeared in one game in 2009—in Week 9 against Pittsburgh—but did not record a tackle.

Released by the Broncos during final cuts in 2010, Baker was briefly of a member of the UFL's Hartford Colonials in September, but was released prior to the regular season.

Baker will wear No. 95 in Miami, which was previously worn by retired veteran nose tackle Jason Ferguson.

As a practice squad player, Baker will earn roughly $5,200 per week and participate in all practices and team meetings.

Baker will not be allowed to play in games, but is eligible to be promoted to the Dolphins' active roster or signed away by another NFL team at any time.


Analysis

Baker brings a bit of familiarity with him, having played under Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan when the coach held that same title with the Broncos in 2009.

One Dolphins connection Baker does not have, despite some reports to the contrary, is with starting defensive end Kendall Langford. Though both played college ball at Hampton, Baker's lone season there was in 2008, when Langford was already in the NFL.

Although he has had his troubles off the field, Baker is a talented player with upside and is a prototypical nose tackle at 6-foot-2 and 330 pounds.

Baker gives the Dolphins someone to work with the second-team defense behind Paul Soliai as long as Randy Starks is filling in for Jared Odrick at right defensive end.

Furthermore, Baker has some experience at end with Denver and should get the chance to showcase his versatility with Lionel Dotson let go.

While he won't get a chance at playing time unless the Dolphins suffer a handful of injuries, Baker is certainly a pretty talented and intriguing guy to have in for a look.

As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here!


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