New Orleans Saints mentor Sean Payton was eyeing up a linebacker as the 3rd round of the 2020 draft began. The Saints traded their 3rd spherical select (88th total), along with a 3rd rounder in the 2021 draft, to the Cleveland Browns to move up to the tenth decision in the 3rd round. With the 74th total alternative, New Orleans chosen Zack Baun, a DE/LB out of Wisconsin.
Baun was predominantly a stand-up defensive close with the Badgers. He was an explosive edge rusher who experienced 12.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for reduction as a senior. Baun also showed outstanding athleticism and assortment when he dropped into protection, displaying the form of versatility that the Saints worth in their defenders.
Fundamentally learning a new place and handcuffed by the cancelation of offseason routines and preseason video games because of COVID-19 issues, some questioned how considerably the rookie would contribute to the Saints in 2020. Present day highlight appears to be at individuals contributions.
Inactive for the season opener versus the Buccaneers, Baun would see the initially motion of his NFL career in the course of a Monday Night time highway reduction to the Raiders in Week 2. He would participate in just 28 snaps on specific groups in the course of months 2 and 3, before finally observing the discipline defensively for a person snap in Week 4 at Detroit.
Baun would see additional extensive defensive action in months 5 and 7, actively playing a mixed 25 snaps against the Chargers and Panthers. He remained a regular member of the exclusive groups squads, but would not see a double-digit snap count on the defensive side yet again right until 7 days 15 versus Kansas Metropolis. Baun performed a season-superior 22 defensive snaps through the typical year finale at Carolina, then 19 in a Divisional Round loss to the Buccaneers.
Baun’s confined action led to modest stats as a rookie. He finished with 12 tackles, just one for a loss. Coaches would stage out his improvement during the calendar year, which led to more taking part in time down the extend. He exhibited excellent strength at the level of attack against the run and bought pleasant drive into the backfield as a go rusher.
As well mild to be an every single down defensive finish at 238-Lbs., Baun’s terrific go rush prospective could make it possible for the team to transfer him to the edge on obvious passing downs. Baun has the athleticism and football IQ to be helpful at linebacker as he proceeds to discover the nuances of the place at the NFL amount.
The Saints shed commencing linebackers Kwon Alexander and Alex Anzalone this offseason, alongside with DE Trey Hendrickson. Zack Baun’s advancement will be vital for the ongoing good results of the New Orleans defense in 2021.