The 2020 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. Here is the Zack Baun 2020 NFL Draft profile.
Size: 6-foot-2, 238 pounds
Class: Redshirt Senior
2019 stats: 75 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception, 1 touchdown
Baun arrived to Wisconsin as a star dual-threat quarterback in high school, but needed a position change to see the field. Since that point, he has become a key player for their talented defense.
He redshirted his first year on campus, but the following year had 15 total tackles and one forced fumble as a reserve. Baun then missed the entire 2017 season with a foot injury. In 2018, he returned to the lineup with 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Wisconsin went 8-5 that season with a win in the Pinstripe Bowl over Miami to cap off the year. He emerged as a star in 2019 with 75 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. The Badgers won 10 games, but they lost in the Rose Bowl to Oregon to end the season.
After his successful senior season, Baun has really built a good reputation for himself heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. He will likely be selected late in the first round or early in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Baun is a very versatile player that should be able to play in a variety of different schemes in the NFL. He played 3-4 outside linebacker at Wisconsin, so he could be an edge rusher and be decently successful. His ability to chase down ball carriers and cover, which does give some potential for him to fit into a scheme as a 4-3 linebacker or an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Teams will get the most out of Baun by moving him around based on the personnel on the field and the situation.
His athleticism is very apparent. This likely stems from his days as a dual-threat quarterback in high school. He has good speed, which allows him to do several things. Baun can chase down ball carriers, cover tight ends and running backs, as well as get after the quarterback with more ease because he has the athleticism to do so.
He is great as a pass rusher, with evidence in his 12.5 sacks. Baun has good bend and flexibility, which helps him win on the edge. He’ll likely need to add more pass-rushing moves, but he has a solid base from which to work with. Once he beats his man on the edge, Baun usually is a lock to bring the quarterback down.
While he has solid size for a traditional linebacker, he doesn’t have great sie for an edge rusher. He could struggle to beat power at the next level, as offensive linemen usually deal with much bigger rushers. Baun will have to hope that his athleticism and bend will be enough to get the job done if he is asked to be a consistent edge rusher.
He needs to be a better tackler at the next level, regardless of how he is used. At times, he tries to arm tackle opponents, which leads to broken tackles and big plays. He needs to show better form tackling on a consistent basis. Baun can also trust himself more in the open field to let loose and bring ball carriers down.
His versatility is a great asset, but this also means he is a specialized player that needs to be put in the best positions to win. If used incorrectly, his career trajectory could change. He should not be used as a 4-3 defensive end or as a linebacker that is expected to cover every down. Baun will likely need a smart defensive coordinator who uses him for his skills rather than boxing him into one specific position.
Projected Draft Range: First Round Pick-Second Round Pick
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