The road to the Draft: Zack Baun


Published on Apr 15, 2020


Age: 22 – Role: EDGE – College: Wisconsin
Class: RS Senior Height: 6'3" (1.91 m) Weight: 238 lbs (107 kg)

The name of Zack Baun came to the fore in his final season at Wisconsin, which was the true playmaker defensive of Badgers in all areas of the defense, as evidenced by his impressive stats: 76 tackles, including 53 solo, with a 19.5 TFL and 12.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. Defender multi-faceted, whose natural role is to outside linebacker in a defense, a 3-4, a role that allows him to exploit his abilities both as a pass rusher in the back to defend on launch. Given its versatility, could also be used in a 4-3 Sam Linebacker, although, as mentioned, also seen his past in Madison in defense 3-4 (and very often a nickel, then 2-4-5) Jim Leonhard, is undoubtedly a profile more palatable for teams that play predominantly this type of defense.

Eclectic player from your most tender years, suffice it to say that the Brown Deer High School (the high school of his native town, Wisconsin) was, as well as a edge rusher, also a more than honest dual threat quarterback, ending his career with 3’061 yards passing and 27 TD passes, as well as almost 4’000 rushing yards and 67 TD-rush. But it is not finished here: he was also a sprinter (100 and 200 metres) and american (in his junior year he led his high school to the title of the state of Division 3).

At college his career stentò to take off: after the year to redshirt, and a year as a freshman-only bench, sophomore was a foot injury to keep him out for almost the whole season, postponing, in fact, his debut season at the junior year. In just two years of eligibility remaining, is, however, managed to earn the esteem of the coaches, fans and even many of the general manager of the NFL.

As mentioned in the opening, has earned the bread by playing by the edge rusher, showing great skill in reading the offensive play, and a consequent great capacity of adaptation to it, making the most of its ductility.

As a pass rusher prefers the outer tracks, which require the tackle to move significantly from the location of the snap, even though it has proven to be able to hurt internally, if your line is able to open a gate in the opposing one. In the last two years, has succeeded in bringing pressure to the quarterback in 16,5% of his attacks, a percentage that, during the same period, is the sixth highest in the entire NCAA FBS.

Discreet athleticism, especially with regard to the explosion in the first steps and the speed in change of direction, even if it lacks a bit of strength in the upper part of the body, in fact, at first glance, despite its nearly 110 kilograms, the impression is that the guy is “slim”. The lack of muscle mass above the trunk of the disadvantage in “battles” against the men of the line when it launches towards the quarterback: if you are not able to sidestep immediately the offensive tackles and the latter manages to put their hands on him, rarely Baun is able to free himself from this grip, and it is not uncommon to see, in these situations, end up literally on the floor. In fact, in his career, he never completed that which in the jargon is called a bull-rush, i.e. a pass rush accomplished by pushing with both hands on the offensive lineman backwards (as would a bull, in fact), and then, once we created the space, tack on the quarterback.

In this verse, Baun has worked in the last year in Madison: at the beginning of last summer camp his weight was 230 lbs, now up to 238 according to the measurements of the Combine, a weight more suitable for an edge rusher from the NFL, but still well below that “250-260”, which is said to be the range of ideal weight for the position.

If his “cut” from one side it is a problem, the other is an advantage: it is probably the best edge rusher in the class in the pass coverage, that is, when, instead of attacking the pitcher, and runs off to the back going to defend an area of the field assigned to him. In the two years actually played in college, he defended a zone for 195 times, giving the misery of 112 yards. His name should be out between the end of the first lap and the beginning of the second.

The New York Giants seem to be the team most interested in Baun, team in which he would end his former team-mate and ward Ryan Connelly, chosen in the fifth round of the last Draft by the Giants. Who more and who less, but almost every NFL team could call a linebacker within the next Draft: Ravens, Panthers and the Eagles, however, are the teams most indiziate to spend such a choice is relatively high for a player in this role.




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