The first round of the NFL Draft came and went on Thursday evening with zero Wisconsin Badgers selected. While there was certainly something to talk about for Wisconsin football fans due to the Green Bay Packers interesting choices, the rest of us, foolishly, stayed up too late in hopes of seeing a Badger drafted.
On Friday night, however, the first Wisconsin players were taken. Edge rusher Zack Baun was selected by the New Orleans Saints, who traded up to get him, with the No. 74 pick in the third round, joining former Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk in the Big Easy.
The Saints play a 4-3 defense and Baun will have to have an impressive performance in the training camp to earn some reps with the New Orleans defense.
Baun’s list of accolades for his senior season are many. He was a Butkus Award finalist, Bednarik Award semifinalist, consensus first-team All-America (FWAA, Walter Camp), second-team All-America (AFCA, AP, Sporting News) and first-team All-Big Ten (consensus).
On the season, he had 53 solo tackles (76 total and 19.5 for loss), 12 sacks, 10 QB hurries, two forced fumbles, one interception (which he returned for a touchdown) and two passes defended. Baun’s 12.5 sacks as a senior rank as the third-highest single-season total in school history. He was second in the B1G in sacks last year. He also helped the team to a new single-season school record with 51 sacks in 2019.
Baun, a native of Brown Deer, was a team captain his senior year at Wisconsin and graduated in December 2019 with degree in retailing and consumer behavior. He participated in the 2020 Senior Bowl, where he put on an impressive performance that had many predicting him to be a second round, or higher, pick.