Round 1: Seahawks select Zack Baun, EDGE/LB Wisconsin
Zack Baun just wrapped up an impressive scouting combine that should secure him a spot in the first round. Seattle may not get the opportunity to take, but he fell to pick 27 in our simulation, we scooped him up. Baun is an interesting player who may actually be able to fill a few needs.
He is a better fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker who excels at rushing the passer while also being a solid player in coverage. While Seattle runs a 4-3 defense, they often do so with 3-4 personnel. Baun may slide to Seattle thanks to his “tweener” profile.
He measured in at the combine at 6’2″, 238 lbs, making him about 20 lbs too light to play the LEO on an every-down basis. Seattle desperately needs edge rushers, not linebackers, so why take a player who’s best positional fit is OLB?
Remember back in the glory years of Pete Carroll’s defense? Bruce Irvin played a lot of SLB on first and second down, then he would come in to rush the passer on nickel and dime defenses. Baun could fill a similar role for Carroll in 2020 and beyond.
The production speaks for itself, as he racked up 14.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks for the Wisconsin Badgers in 2019. In addition, Baun is still developing as a pass-rusher, so his ceiling is likely unknown. John Schneider loves to take players who still have room to grow and isn’t afraid to take a chance on raw projects in the first round… like Bruce Irvin.
Baun can play all three downs and is the athlete the Seahawks need on their offense. Carroll and defensive coordinator Ken Norton will need to be creative in their scheme to maximize Baun’s value in year 1, but this Wisconsin Badger is well worth it. He is fast (a 4.65 40-yard dash), strong (24 reps on the bench press), and explosive, while possibly filling two roles on the defense for the price of one. I like the sound of that.