It’s getting to be that time of year again where we get non-stop draft analysis. This week, I want to break down Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun.
Where We Are Currently.
After a loss in the NFC championship game, the Packers roster is still sitting pretty. There’s a lot of young talent under contract, but every year teams have to deal with roster turnover. The top three positions Brian Gutekunst will need to fill are wide receiver, offensive line, and inside linebacker. This draft is stacked with talented wide receivers, and the offensive line prospects are fast, versatile, strong. Green Bay should be able to pick up some of these talented players in the later rounds. However, there were only a few inside linebackers that really stood out. If the Packers want to fill that hole, they will need to pick someone early in order to get a quality player at the position.
Setting The Bar
This year the bar was set by Isaiah Simmons: Isaiah set the mark with his blistering 4.39 in the 40 yard dash. He is also the first player since at least 2003 to record a 38-plus-inch vertical jump, broad jump of 11 feet or more, and a sub-4.4 40 yard dash all while weighing 230+ pounds. He would absolutely be a great fit for the Packers and a game-wrecker, but unless the Packers are willing to give up some serious draft capital to get in the top 10 (or even the top five), he is going to be way out of reach.
At 6’ 2, 238lbs, he isn’t quite as big as scouts would like for an edge rusher. That’s why a lot of scouts are now marking him more as an off-the-ball linebacker. With a 40 time of 4.69, Baun is slower than your average inside linebacker and with 24 reps he has average strength to be able to battle it out at the line. Where Baun really stands out though is when it comes to his mechanics and football IQ, his quick hands to play and punch around blocks, his flexibility and strength to be able to maintain his balance in the hole, his awesome blitzing ability, and his get to the ball mentality.
Having a player like Baun would add a lot of versatility to the Packers front seven. Baun is an explosive prospect who has drawn a lot of comparisons to Packers legend and current Rams player: Clay Matthews III. Baun is twitchy and explosive with fluid hips that amplify his zone coverage abilities. Not only can Baun cover the center of the field, but he has the ability to see the field like a QB. He won Wisconsin Offensive player of the year at Brown Deer Highschool in 2014 as an explosive dual threat QB. His ability to see the field and play sideline to sideline no matter what is asked of him would make him a great fit for the Green Bay Packers.
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