Saints trade up for linebacker Zack Baun in 3rd round

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The New Orleans Saints selected linebacker Zack Baun out of Wisconsin in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, 74th overall.

The Saints traded the No. 88 overall pick and a 2021 third-round selection to the Cleveland Browns for the right to take Baun at No. 74 overall and the No. 244 selection.

Baun was initially believed to be a possible first-round selection but fell due to medical concerns.

Prospect Profile

School: Wisconsin
Height: 6-2
Weight: 238 lbs

Positives

  • Explosive first step off the line
  • Excellent speed and ability to bend the edge
  • Change of direction to counter inside on oversetting tackles
  • Outside rush sets up a nasty inside spin move
  • Good effort and discipline to set edge in run game
  • Great range as backside pursuit run defender
  • Comfortable and effective dropping into coverage

Negatives

  • Lacks size for an every-down edge role
  • Not ready to hold up on downhill run blocks
  • Poor length can see him get swallowed up by linemen
  • Still developing effective hand usage in pass rush
  • Only one year of meaningful pass-rush production

Bottom line

Baun isn't your prototypical edge defender because of his size and the fact there's only so much room for him to get bigger, but that doesn't mean he can't have a significant role. He has the ability to line up off the ball on early downs, and can rotate down to the edge in more obvious passing situations and give offensive lines fits with his outside speed and inside counter moves. He's an edge defender in our books because that's where he'll make his most significant impact, but he can move all over the front seven, and defensive coaches will love that versatility.

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Saints trade up for linebacker Zack Baun in 3rd round
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