Photo by David Stluka/Wisconsin Athletic Communications
With the 74th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Wisconsin edge rusher Zack Baun.
Named a 2019 consensus All-American, Baun finished last season with 76 tackles (19.5 tackles for loss) and 12.5 sacks. Baun finished his Wisconsin career with 30.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks.
Zack Baun is a versatile and smart defensive player, who can succeed in multiple spots. At Wisconsin, Baun was tasked to drop back in coverage, rush the quarterback and defend the run in multiple alignments. At the next level, his immediate production likely comes from his pass rush.
Baun is twitchy and explosive, with enough athleticism to win pass rush situations off his first step. Baun also has enough athleticism to cover running backs and tight ends in space, showing the versatility that should excite NFL teams.
Baun’s size might limit him from becoming a full-time edge rusher in the NFL. But his athleticism and tackling range should excite teams that are looking for a versatile, “jack-of-all-trades” defender at the next level.
Baun compares to current Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Like Baun, Van Noy has built a solid NFL resume on the same versatility.
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What the Analysts Say
Ascending prospect whose explosive production on the field has begun to mirror his explosive athletic traits. Baun’s twitchy get-off and deep bend at the edge is nightmare fuel for Big Ten tackles and he’s still at the early stages of pass rush development. –Lance Zierlein, NFL Network
Zack Baun is a Day 2 candidate for a team looking for a quick and explosive outside rusher who primary plays from a stand-up alignment. A leggy and thin rusher, Baun regularly wins off of his first step with great snap anticipation, stride length, and natural burst. –Ben Solak, The Draft Network
Zack Baun is a versatile defender who will fill in for multiple positions but mostly pass rusher. His athleticism makes him an intriguing jack-of-all-trades for a team like the Saints, which will continue to try and add depth onto their defense and continue to make a run towards the Super Bowl.