2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Zach Baun

  • Zack Baun, 6-2/240

  • Outside Linebacker

  • Wisconsin

  • Zack Baun Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Dangerous edge pass-rusher
  • Quick to run around the corner
  • Able to sink his hips and shoulder
  • Good leverage to get underneath tackles
  • Instinctive
  • Speed off the edge
  • Burst to close
  • Solid tackler
  • Good pursuit defender
  • Toughness
  • Solid in zone coverage
  • Able to cover in the flat
  • Will contribute in the ground game
  • Reads his keys well
  • Consistently gets in position to make tackles
  • Pursuit run defense
  • Athletic
  • Agile

  • Weaknesses:
  • Has some size limitations as a run defender as a 3-4 OLB
  • Could have issues defending runs downhill straight at him
  • Can get knocked off balance by contact in the ground game
  • Lacks length
  • Not overly strong
  • Could use more refinement in moves
  • Should get stronger
  • Undersized as a 3-4 outside linebacker

  • Summary: Wisconsin had a some more experienced linebackers on the roster in 2018, but Baun was one of the team’s most impressive and consistent defenders in the middle. On the year, he had 78 tackles with 11 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. Baun was placed on NFL teams’ preseason watch list before the 2019 season, and he built on his junior success with a superb senior year. In 2019, Baun totaled 12.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, 76 tackles, two passes batted and one interception. He was a dangerous edge rusher and dynamic blitzer for Wisconsin. After the season, he had a strong performance at the Senior Bowl.

    In the pass rush, Baun has serious speed off the edge to turn the corner around offensive tackles. He can blow by them and hunt down the quarterback quickly. On top of a burst off the edge, Baun has closing speed to eat up ground and get to ball-carriers quickly. Tackles can struggle with Baun’s leverage, as he is able to sink his hips and shoulder to dip underneath. He also is agile and athletic to make it tough for them to get a hold of him. With good instincts, Baun has a nose for the quarterback. In coverage, he shows some ability to play zone and cover the flat.

    As a run defender, Baun is tough at the point of attack and battles. He is a solid tackler who shows good technique to go low for the legs. Baun is active and around the ball, showing a nice ability to read his keys. In the pro ranks, he could struggle with downhill runs coming straight at him, so it would help him to get stronger and more stout for taking on NFL offensive linemen.

    Baun lacks some length and is not overly strong. He could use more refinement on pass-rushing moves for the NFL, and it would help him to get stronger.

    For the NFL, Baun could be a Sam – strongside – linebacker in a 4-3 defense who rushes off the edge in the sub package. In a 3-4 defense, Baun could be a rotational linebacker who plays some on the inside in run downs and rushes off the edge in the sub package. He could end up a late first-round pick or second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy (6-3, 250) is slightly bigger than Baun, but they are almost identical in size. Van Noy was a prolific sacker of the quarterback in college, and in the NFL, he has turned into a well-rounded defender who can contribute in pass coverage as well as rush the quarterback. I think Baun could follow a similar pattern as a pro. Van Noy was an early second-round pick – 40th overall – in the 2014 NFL Draft, and I could see Baun going in the same range.


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