The Steinkuhler name is synonymous with Nebraska football. Baker’s father, Dean, won both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies while on the offensive line with the Huskers in 1983 and became the second overall pick in the 1984 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. His brother, Ty, also played a significant role with the team from 2005 to 2008. Now a team leader himself, Baker has grown into a solid starter during his time in Lincoln, and has gained some fans among NFL scouts as a potential contributor at the next level.
He redshirted in 2008, watching his older brother finish his Huskers career from the sidelines, before getting onto the field for 13 games the following season (17 tackles, one for loss). Big 12 coaches named him honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore, as he started the team’s first 13 games (he was suspended from the Holiday Bowl after being cited on suspicion of drunken driving in Lincoln) and racked up 46 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He again garnered honorable mention accolades in 2011 (40 tackles, five for loss, two sacks), though it was from Big Ten coaches in Nebraska’s first year in a new conference.
Tough, high-motor lineman who plays the zero, three and five techniques equally well. Shows enough initial quickness to challenge blockers off the snap. Plays with decent pad level and bend to maintain leverage despite his height. Athletic enough to move down the line while engaged to maintain his gap. Stands up to double teams adequately, keeps his feet working and doesn’t get his shoulders turned; takes up blockers so blitzers can get through the line. Flashes some short area agility, as well as the strength to hold up his man while grabbing a back coming through his gap with one arm. Has the length to affect passing lanes when watching the quarterback, also tough for passers to throw around if getting free from his block. Best following plays within the box, but shows some good hustle to the outside when possible.
Has increased his overall strength during his career, especially in the upper body, but is still a bit svelte for an interior player. Better players take advantage of the lean he needs to keep his pad level low, can get him to the ground or wash him out of plays. Does not consistently disengage from man-up blocks to make plays on cutbacks. Not a great collegiate playmaker, lacks explosiveness and closing speed to be an elite pass rusher (often out on third downs) or chase down plays outside the box.
Steinkuhler might not be an All-American or national award winner like his father, Dean, was as an offensive line star for the Huskers in the 1980’s, but his steady play inside has allowed him to earn honorable mention notice from coaches in both the Big 12 and Big Ten. Continued improvement in his lower-body strength and overall playmaking ability will earn him draftable grades from NFL teams projecting him as a reliable, high-motor reserve in 3-4 or 4-3 systems.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.