As the season draws to a close, one name keeps coming up in draft talk: Wisconsin outside linebacker Zack Baun.
The position he’ll play remains in question.
Baun, at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, is your typical Wisconsin lineman: fundamentally sound, hard worker, good motor and football IQ, questionable measurables and athleticism.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) November 17, 2019
Most draft evaluators see the senior’s best fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment rather than a linebacker or a defensive end in a 4-3 set. Still, despite a few shaky games, Baun has seen his stock steadily rise after a solid season. Baun has 62 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception this season.
Baun is currently ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 linebacker. According to the PFF report:
“Baun is technically an edge defender at the moment, but at only 230 pounds, his chances of staying there in the NFL seem slim.”
According to PFF, Baun has dropped into coverage more than 80 snaps the past two season, with grades of 81.3 in 2018 and 90.0 this season.
Wisconsin’s ability to produce NFL-ready linemen also helps Baun’s cause.
“With his size, speed and defensive intelligence, Baun is going to make some NFL team extremely happy,” writes Bleacher Reports Brad Shepard in his latest risers and sliders report. “He also has the ability to do well in coverage, too. The senior can be an all-around package as an outside linebacker.”
Baun is currently sitting just outside the top 100 in the latest Fanspeak-Jake big board as the No. 103 overall prospect.
Wisconsin's Zack Baun (@zackbizzaun) continues to be an excellent edge rusher for the Badgers defense. Watch his effort and speed on the first play, his ability to diagnose the screen on the second play, and effort and closing speed on the third. A monster defensively.#WNSFilm pic.twitter.com/SFY83f4stS
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) November 18, 2019