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NFL Draft 2020: what grades did Zack Baun earn?

How did the experts view the pick for the Saints newest pass rusher?

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NFL Combine - Day 5 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Grading the NFL Draft immediately after it is over is a fool’s errand. The players have not even traveled to the new city they will be playing in nor have they participated in one single offseason drill and people want to grade their careers already.

Now, just because they are silly, and often wrong, doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely fun to look over and then shout about! I love the NFL Draft because I consider it to be more college football than pro and occasionally I get to sound smart because I’ve watched Mountain West games early Sunday morning and know that the QB from Hawaii that the Titans drafted is a white guy with dreadlocks.

Anyway, let’s see what people online thought about the four Badgers who were drafted this past weekend! Next up is outside linebacker/edge rusher Zack Baun.

Zack Baun

  • Yahoo! gave Baun an A. “It’s hard to know how much a diluted urine test at the combine ultimately hurt Baun’s stock, but we had him inside our top 40 prospects and could have seen him going that high easily. Instead, the Saints get a steal here and help a LB unit that has been beset by injuries. We expect Baun to beat out Alex Anzalone for a job and add some pass-rush talent on the subpackage units.”
  • SB Nation gave the Saints a B and had this to say about Baun. “The Saints were one of the teams with the fewest roster holes going into the draft. And that was proven by the moves they made on Day 2. They maneuvered around and took pass-rushing linebacker Zack Baun and tight end Adam Trautmann in the third round. Baun fills the need at linebacker the Saints had after A.J. Klein left this offseason.”
  • Walter Football gave Baun an A+. “The fall has ended. Zack Baun was good enough to go in the first round, and the Bengals, at one point, was considering him at No. 33 overall. I don’t know why he fell, but I’m looking forward to Charlie Campbell’s Why the Slide segment in May. The Saints won’t be complaining, as they’re getting the linebacker upgrade they could have easily obtained at No. 24 overall.”
Wisconsin v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
  • CBS Sports gave Baun an A. “Super-bendy, explosive edge rusher with quality pass-rush move toolbox. Some versatility. Good instincts. A little on the small size, but fun chess piece for New Orleans behind Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport.”
  • Pro Football Focus gave the Saints a B. “The Saints traded pick No. 88 and a 2021 third-round pick to Cleveland for picks Nos. 74 and 244, jumping up 14 spots to grab former Wisconsin edge defender Zack Baun. He played a vast majority of his defensive snaps along the edge at the collegiate level but projects as an off-ball linebacker/edge hybrid in the NFL. His quicks and hand usage have given opposing tackles nightmares. The more we watch, the more we like. He ranked fourth among off-ball linebackers and 42nd overall on PFF’s big board.”
  • SI gave the Saints a C- and this to say about Baun. “The only addition on defense was Zack Baun. He will likely play up on or near the line of scrimmage in New Orleans’s base defense. It’s a 4-3 scheme but the duties won’t be wildly different from what he did in Wisconsin’s 3-4. But really the intrigue here is in passing situations. Baun showed some pass rushing juice as a Badger, and the Saints like to play with two linebackers on all passing downs (even if they’re in dime defense, where they’ll go with just three D-linemen), and they often send one of them after the quarterback.”