Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun’s match-up against Ohio State gives him a chance to make his case as the top senior outside linebacker in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Baun’s continued to get after the passer at a high-level this year, registering 6.5 sacks at this point in the season.
He continues to display impressive quickness coming off the edge and should play a pivotal role in making Justin Fields uncomfortable in the pocket.
Baun is likely going to translate as an off-ball linebacker at the next level, and Ohio State is going to test him in a few areas where questions still remain.
They have one of the strongest rushing attacks in the nation and have plenty of ability to clear rushing lanes for J.K. Dobbins. Baun displays solid play strength and effort is never an issue, but he doesn’t always play with the type of power that you’d like to see.
Baun has times where he struggles to win one-on-one at the point-of-attack and he needs to show that he can effectively fill in run support while maintaining his gap discipline.
He’s flashed stack-and-shed ability, but it’s going to be vital to see Baun consistently win and finish when he’s in the area.
While he’s mostly asked to rush the passer, Baun receives plenty of looks in coverage. Given Ohio State’s potent passing attack, this should provide evaluators plenty of opportunities to see how he can hold up in coverage.
Baun is fluid dropping into zone coverage and does a nice job keeping things in front of him, but there are still questions remaining about how well he can hold up in the man coverage.
The Buckeyes don’t boast a standout tight end, but they have two that can provide viable security blankets in the middle of the field and it will be interesting to see how he handles the opportunity when asked to man them up.
Wisconsin suffered a heart-breaking loss last week against Illinois, but they have a chance to pull off a major upset if they’re able to knock off Ohio State this weekend.
Baun is one of the top senior outside linebackers on my board, but he hasn’t necessarily gained steam throughout the NFL Draft community.
If he can make an impact similar to the one he did against Michigan earlier in the year, Baun is going to be one of the most talked about defensive prospects heading into draft season.