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2008 NFL Draft Review: Sam Baker, The Add-On Insurance Plan

Round one, pick 21: Sam Backer, USC LT

Also available: RB Chris Johnson, CB Brandon Flowers, RB Felix Jones, CB Mike Jenkins

When buying "electronics suite" at Best Buy, you're always overjoyed to have a blue-polo'd cashier try to sell you an additional 19-year insurance package for a hilarious amount of money even though you know you'll be buying a new electronics suite as soon as the next one comes out anyway. Sometimes, however, it's a good idea to get something to protect your new investment at the same time as the investment itself.

The Atlanta Falcons thought so in 2008, trading up to take Baker shortly after betting the farm on Matt Ryan. The Falcons traded picks No. 34, 48, and 103 to the Redskins for the right -- did you know WR Devin Thomas, TE Fred Davis, and DE William Hayes ended up going in those spots? Though this is the Redskins we're talking about, so it's not like you were expecting to see All Pro players that the Birds passed up on.

At times, Baker has continued the proud Bob Whitfield tradition of racking up tons of penalties, but since early this season he's come on as a solid NFL left tackle, to the surprise of more than one Falcons fan. The Falcons are fourth in the league in avoiding sacks, 11th in QB hits, and top ten in most rushing stats, so somebody's doing something right. Ryan's having a career year, and the uptick in Baker's performance is as big a reason as any.

Baker waving his sword and beard at an obedient marching band as dancing California girls encircle him:

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.