Has great short area quickness that helps him immensely in zone coverage.
His lack of length presents many challenges when it comes to wrapping up running backs. There are many instances where Baun lacked the strength and length necessary to grab a ball carrier and bring him to the ground.
Baun has a nose for the football and is constantly looking to disrupt the play. He has one of the highest motors in the league. He doesn't always find the ball, but he is always looking for it
Baun is extremely explosive when he gets off the ball quickly. When he times the snap perfectly he gains enough leverage to drive blockers towards the QB and even put them on their backs. However, Baun
On most passing plays, Baun exhibits tremendous awareness and decision making. This is why he has excellent zone spacing. However, Baun is often fooled on play-action and draw plays. Additionally, when he is asked to keep contain or watch for play action, Baun is slow to read and react. He also struggles with keeping contain on run plays
When it comes to out muscling offensive linemen, Baun struggles to gain momentum unless he gets off the ball quickly. His lack of upper body strength and shorter wingspan make it hard for him to be a consistent pass rusher throughout the entirety of drives.
He has a good arsenal of pass rush moves, especially the bull rush and inside spin. Most of his pass rushing success will likely be due to his acceleration and explosiveness rather than strength. However, he has a tendency to over pursue and his pressure production is inconsistent throughout a game. On the edge, he is regularly a non-factor.
Tremendous in zone coverage. He has both the range and awareness necessary to disrupt passing lanes and make life hell for QBs.
Tore his meniscus and suffered two lisfranc foot injuries
Baun has great leadership and is an extremely hard worker. His ability to improve every year illustrates his coach-ability. He is one of the most versatile linebackers in this draft class too.
Baun is consistent as a coverage linebacker, but inconsistent as a pass rusher.
When watching Zack Baun on tape, it’s easy to tell that he has an explosive first step that enables him to get off the line of scrimmage right as the ball is snapped. In fact, Baun’s ability to time a snap is comparable to draft sensation, Chase Young’s. When Baun gets off the line quickly, he is able to gain enough momentum to push back any blocker with a bull rush due to his great lower body strength. Besides bull rush, Baun has a great arsenal of pass rush moves such as the cross-chop and inside spin which help him to get into the backfield and pressure the QB.
As a LB, Baun has excellent spacing in zone coverage and can change directions with his hips better than most. As it pertains to changing directions, Baun is able to move laterally in any direction rather quickly because he has a stellar combination of acceleration and range. Baun pays special attention to where the QB is scanning the field and does an excellent job of interfering in passing lanes. In both the coverage and pass rush game, Baun has proven to be a productive player who could be a bona fide starter within two or three years.
Attributes: Pass coverage (especially in zone), Range , Snap timing, Lower body strength, Pass rush moves, Production, Acceleration
On most passing plays, Baun exhibits tremendous awareness and decision making, which is why he has great zone spacing. However, throughout his career, Baun has struggled with locating the ball on read-option and play action plays and often over pursues or chooses to tackle the wrong player. Additionally, when he is asked to keep contain or watch for play action, Baun is slow to read and react.
From a physical opponent, Baun will most likely struggle in the NFL if placed at edge rusher because of his lack of upper body strength or insane wingspan. When Baun is rushing off the edge, he struggles to gain separation from his blocker and is often pushed away from the QB. Although even when he goes straight up against a blocker, Baun’s lack of upper body strength causes him to get jammed at the line of scrimmage, especially on run plays.
Speaking of run plays, Baun is a slight liability as a run stopper because he fails to recognize pulling blocks and is unable to maneuver away from them. This is especially true on outside run plays, where Baun doesn’t have enough speed to track the ball carrier. However, even when Baun evades a run block, he is frequently unable to fully grasp ball carriers (especially running backs) and bring them to the ground. As a result, his tackling technique needs to be refined.
The most significant red flag associated with Zack Baun concerns his injury history. During his collegiate career, Baun has suffered a devastating meniscus tear coupled with two torn lisfranc injuries in his left foot. If Baun were to re-injure his foot a third time, this could lead to a long period of missed games and drastically limit his ceiling.
Attributes: Awareness, Play Recognition (especially on play action and read option plays and locating the ball), Blitzing off edge, Length, Tackling technique, Run block recognition, Severe injuries, inconsistency, Lack of explosive speed
Throughout his career at the University of Wisconsin, Zack Baun has fit the criteria for a Badger defender by being one of the hardest workers in the Big Ten conference. At the next level, he fares to harass opposing quarterbacks given that he has flashed potential in both the pass coverage game and pass rush game. While some sources list Baun as a possible edge rusher due to his experience on the edge, he looks to be most successful as an OLB or MLB in a 4-3 system. Even though he is not a physical freak, Baun makes up for it with an explosive first step, great acceleration and range.
Zack Baun would be a good fit on the Oakland Raiders, who currently need a LB to bolster their defense. If the Raiders opt to spend their first round picks on wide receivers and/or cornerbacks, they could easily draft Baun in the second round to fill in as a weak side LB. Due to Baun’s coverage skills and pass rush success, he could easily come into Paul Guenther’s defense and fill in for Nicholas Morrow.
Zack Baun’s ceiling varies between Joe Schobert and Lavonte David. Similar to both Schobert and David, Baun is undersized for his position but makes up for it with a high motor and great coverage skills. Moreover, both Schobert and David are able to get off the line of scrimmage quickly just like Baun. However, Baun, Schobert, and David are all inconsistent pass rushers.
Joe Shobert and Lavonte David