The Falcons have an important job up for grabs since Vic Beasley couldn’t handle it. That job is pressuring the opponents’ QB and Zack Baun‘s resume fits the need for it in Atlanta pretty much perfectly.
The Falcons tied for second-fewest sacks in the NFL with a total of 28 sacks at the end of last season.
Atlanta also has a need for a cornerback, offensive line, linebacker, tight end, and running back. Clearly, they have more jobs to fill than just edge rusher right now, but come draft day it looks like their first pick will be an edge rusher and it could be Baun.
Baun made it known last season that he has a bright future in the NFL and is projected to be a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
‘Honey Badger Don’t Give A ^*($’
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Baun played outside linebacker as a Badger at Wisconsin and let his versatility shine at the position. In 2018 Baun was a junior and quickly became the team’s go-to guy. Although he was a starter, he didn’t shine very bright until 2019 where he recorded 75 total tackles, 12.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. At the end of the season, he was a first-team All-Big Ten selection.
Falcons’ digital managing editor and NFL draft expert, Matt Tabeek gave his analysis on Baun.
“Versatile, athletic, a quarterback’s nightmare. Baun is a sideline-to-sideline wrecking ball.”
Baun’s Combine Performance
Baun went all-out at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
Baun ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 and ranked No. 13 on the list of linebackers and edge rushers. The fastest time was 4.39 by Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons.
Players with a long wingspan like Baun, struggle at bench press but Baun showed his strength by putting up an impressive 24 reps of 225 pounds. He ranked 3rd in the bench press drill for linebackers.
Baun was fifth in the 3-cone drill and ranked tenth in the 20-yard shuttle. You can’t coach speed when it comes to pressuring the quarterback. Baun has it, a lot of it.
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According to WalterFootball.com NFL draft expert Charlie Campbell, Baun has more strengths than weaknesses and will make any team very happy on draft day.
- Dangerous edge pass-rusher
- Quick to run around the corner
- Able to sink his hips and shoulder
- Good leverage to get underneath tackles
- Speed off the edge
- Burst to close
- Solid tackler
- Good pursuit defender
- Solid in zone coverage
- Able to cover in the flat
- Will contribute in the ground game
- Reads his keys well
- Consistently gets in position to make tackles
- Pursuit run defense
- Has some size limitations as a run defender as a 3-4 OLB
- Could have issues defending runs downhill straight at him
- Can get knocked off balance by contact in the ground game
- Lacks length
- Not overly strong
- Could use more refinement in moves
- Should get stronger
- Undersized as a 3-4 outside linebacker