After a pretty solid combine showing by Budda Baker, scouts pegged him to be a second round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. A burgeoning draft of impressive secondary playmakers, the 2017 draft boasted such names as Marshon Lattimore, Jamal Adams, Malik Hooker, and Adoree’ Jackson. Budda was selected near the top of round two by the Arizona Cardinals. He’d shine enough in camp that he’d scale the depth chart to become Tyrann Mathieu’s backup at strong safety.
Budda had a well-rounded rookie season. He’d have 58 total tackles, a sack, 7 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles in 7 starts. Baker also had 16 special teams tackles- to rank him 3rd in the league. He’d be named first-team All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl for his efforts.
The Cardinals felt comfortable enough to let Mathieu go in free agency for 2018. Budda is expected to start at strong safety and be busy on special teams.
Card: Topps AAF 2019 Acquired: IP 2019, San Antonio Commanders v Arizona Hotshots
Wow. The Commanders got their butt kicked at home badly by the Hotshots. After the game, the Commanders went to the locker room while the Hotshots reveled in all their glory with fans on the visitors’ sideline. Bundy was talking to fans when I reached over and asked him to sign his card. At first he said I must have the wrong guy, but when he and his friends saw his card, he jumped up and down with excitement. Like most players, he was unaware that Topps had made a card of him. He signed it gleefully and then thanked me for the extra I gave him.
Marquis played for the New Mexico Lobos from 2012-2015. He put together 31 catches for 395 yards and 2 TDs over his time at the school. Bundy did not see much playing time as a receiver in the run first Lobos offense- so his draft stock really suffered. He’d go unselected in 2016.
Bundy was picked up by the Cardinals, and was on and off the roster through 2017. The Giants then took a year to look at Marquis but did not make the roster in 2018.
Marquis signed with the Hotshots in 2019, and saw his most productive outing against the Commanders in Week 5 catching 3 passes for 49 yards, and over the course of the season he also converted 2 2 point conversions. He’d see 4 starts (in 8 games) catching 13 passes for 178 yards (13.6 YPC), including a 22 yard long.
After the league folded, Marquis landed on the practice squad of the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League.
Card: ProSet 1991 Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o The New York Jets Sent: 10/1 Received: 12/31 (91 days)
Admittedly, it’s a bit grim when you get a player or coach’s autograph in the mail from them right after they get cut or fired. Case in point- Todd Bowles. He took over Gang Green after Rex Ryan was dismissed from the franchise in 2015. He posted a solid 10-6 record right out of the box that year, but the team did not make the playoffs. Over the next 3 seasons, the Jets failed to rally back into the AFC East race, finishing dead last each year with identical 5-11 records in 2016 and 2017, and a 4-12 mark in 2018.
The franchise hired a new GM and then couldn’t find a quarterback to hitch the team to until the 2018 season. In the meantime they constantly missed on draft choices or had a lack there of and in the 2018 season lost 6 games by less than a TD. Todd was released after the season, but not before he dropped this card in the mail – signing one of two for me. He was quickly snatched up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their open defensive coordinator position in 2019 reuniting him with Head Coach Bruce Arians.
Todd has a rich coaching history. Technically a disciple of the Al Groh coaching tree, Todd served at a variety of stops in college before hitting it big in the NFL with the Jets as a secondary coach in 2000. He served as a defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 1997 for Morehouse and in 1998 and 1999 in the same capacity for Grambing State. Bowles joined the Browns in 2001 and remained with the franchise through 2004, eventually becoming the franchise’s secondary coach. He then coached with the Cowboys under Bill Parcells from 2005-2007, again in the secondary, before working with the Dolphins in 2008, where he’d get a taste of head coaching in 2011 going 2-1 as the interim head coach. Todd spent a year with the Eagles, and then in 2013 was the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, where he enjoyed the most success paired with head coach and offensive guru Bruce Arians. He earned AP Assistant Coach of the Year Honors before embarking on his whirlwind tour of New York.
Amazingly- Todd has a very long playing resume as well. Going undrafted out of Temple in 1986, he signed with the Redskins playing Free Safety with the franchise through 1990- earning one Super Bowl ring. Bowles hopped over the 49ers in 1991 spending one season with the team. He’d then return to the Redskins for two more seasons before heading into coaching.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.