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Training Camp

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Cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. relishes getting first-team reps after spending 2022 on the Colts' practice squad

Throughout training camp, Baker has turned heads as he continues to show he can hold his own against the team's top receivers.


WESTFIELD, Ind. - With the Colts committed to going into the 2023 season with a young cornerback room, several players have used this opportunity as a way to make a name for themselves.

One of the players has been Darrell Baker Jr.

Last May, he signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent. When he was waived by them in August, the Colts swooped him up a couple weeks later, signing him to their practice squad.

While Baker did not get to see any action on defense during the regular season, that has not deterred him from preparing as if he was about to line up against an opponent's top wide receiver.

"Whether I'm on the practice squad or whatever I'm always preparing like a starter," Baker said. "I'm going to have that mindset no matter what."

With nearly a year of experience in the system, Baker has settled in, making it easier for him to do his job.

"When I get those opportunities to step up for my brothers and my coaches give me that trust, you just come in, do the right thing and make the right plays," Baker said.

It has become clear that he has been doing something right since he was taken the bulk of the first-team reps at outside cornerback since training camp began.

While he is working to gain the trust of his coaches, he is also starting to gain the trust of his teammates as well.

"He's a young player who is always in the right spot, always knows what to do and always making plays," linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "He doesn't shy away from that competition. Whether that's going up against AP [Alec Pierce] or Pitt [Michael Pittman Jr.], whoever he matches up against, he doesn't shy away from that. He's always making plays on the ball, man. It's good to see. I know it's a lot of competition at that spot, so it's always great to see a young player embrace that and go after that."

Getting to lineup against the team's top receivers have given Baker a taste of what life is like as a starting cornerback.

However, Baker welcomes the challenge and credits the experience of going up against Pierce as one of the things that will best prepare him for the regular season.

"I love going against him," Baker said. "He's a bigger body receiver that you are going to see almost every week (in and out). So, I love those kinds of matchups."

Later this week, Baker will have a chance to go up against new competition as the Colts will take on the Buffalo Bills in their preseason opener.

Excited to show what he can do in a game-like setting, Baker said the preseason will be the next step in his learning process.

"Getting these reps have given me a whole of confidence," Baker said. "I stay pretty level-headed, and you know, just kind of take it day by day, keep being committed and constantly wanting to learn and get better."

Players make their way to the Grand Park practice fields via the traditional blue walkway for training camp practice.

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