(File photo by Philip Vukelich|Argonaut)
It didn’t take very long after the draft for James Baker to know where he was going.
Shortly after the 2014 NFL Draft ended, the Kansas City Chiefs placed a call to Baker telling him that they wanted him as a preferred free agent. He agreed, and should be joining the Chiefs for its rookie mini-camp sometime within the next month.
Baker said he received calls from Green Bay, Chicago and his hometown Miami Dolphins, but that the Chiefs were the best fit because of his relationship with the running backs coach and the opportunity he will have to make the roster.
He visited Kansas City during the pre-draft process.
“It was more like a family type environment,” he said of his visit. “I felt like I could come into that organization and contribute right away.”
“I feel like, me and the running backs coach, we talked a little bit, I think I have a good opportunity at making the team,” he said.
Baker was Idaho’s leading rusher in 2013 with 593 yards rushing and six touchdowns. He says Kansas City likes his north-south running ability. His change of pace is something the Chiefs want him to improve on.
Kansas City had two primary running backs in 2013, with Jamaal Charles rushing for 1287 yards on 259 carries and rookie Knile Davis spelling him with 70 carries. Cyrus Gray and Joe McKnight round out the running back depth on the roster. Kansas City also took Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas in the draft, though he likely won’t fit in as a traditional running back.
Baker spent his Saturday afternoon in Moscow surrounded by friends and teammates. He’ll walk in the May 17 graduation ceremony and then prepare for joining the Chiefs.
“(My mindset is) to go into training camp and work hard, that’s what’s most important, to prove that I’m a worthy pick,” Baker said.