The Green Bay Packers worked out five players on Tuesday, including three receivers, which led to the signing of safety Innis Gaines to the practice squad. In a corresponding roster move, though, the team released two players from their practice squad, which left one spot open until Wednesday.
Today, the team signed former New Orleans Saints receiver Kawaan Baker to the practice squad. Baker, a 2021 seventh-round pick out of South Alabama, played 27 special teams snaps over two games for the Saints as a rookie. To start 2022, he was suspended for six games due to a violation of the performance-enhancing substance policy, a suspension he just finished serving. When Baker’s suspension ran up, the Saints elected to waive him on Monday, which made him available to the Packers as a practice squad signing after he cleared waivers on Tuesday.
Kawaan Baker was drafted with pick 255 of round 7 in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.08 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 232 out of 2517 WR from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/3R1luAuFIW #RAS #Saints pic.twitter.com/V1uNQrrfoO— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 1, 2021
Baker posted 126 receptions for 1,829 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air and 92 carries for 376 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground at South Alabama. He also returned 29 kickoffs for 543 yards in college.
Standing at 6’1” and 210 pounds, though, his most impressive attribute is his straight-line explosion for his size. At his pro day, Baker recorded a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and posted elite scores in the vertical (39.5”) and broad (10’9”) jumps.
With uncertain injury situations surrounding Christian Watson, Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins, it made sense for the Packers to add a body at the position, even on the practice squad level. The team already had Juwann Winfree and Travis Fulgham at the position on the practice squad, but Winfree’s gameday elevations have now been exhausted in 2022 as he has already been called up three times this season.
It’s also worth noting that returnman Amari Rodgers was benched in favor of Watson in Week 5 as the team’s kick returner until Watson left the action with his second hamstring injury of the season. If the team is looking to make a move at kick returner, Baker is another option the team now has to move on from Rodgers.