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Meet the Prospect: Zack Baun

Name: Zack Baun

Position: Linebacker

School: Wisconsin

Ht/Wt: 6-2/238

40-yard dash: 4.65

Bench: 24

Vertical: 32.5

Broad: 115.0

3-cone: 7.0

20-yard shuttle: 4.31

View photos of NFL prospect Zack Baun.

How he fits: A former dual-threat quarterback who won the state's Offensive Player of the Year award as a senior at Brown Deer High School, Baun was converted to defense his freshman year at Wisconsin and has never looked back.

Baun came into his own as a senior this past season, finishing among the nation's leaders with 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. He totaled 76 tackles and earned second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors by the AP. He also had an interception, broke up two passes and caused two fumbles.

Baun is versatile and athletic, and is just starting to reach his pass-rushing potential after a late switch to playing defense. He has sideline-to-sideline range and can play a number of different linebacker spots for a defense.

He's a little undersized to be a full-time pass rusher, but that's where his athleticism helps him. He can run with the league's tight ends and play on the line or off it. He'll be a good Day 2 pick for someone.

Detroit's pretty crowded at linebacker with the additions of Jamie Collins Sr., Reggie Ragland and Elijah Lee in free agency this offseason, but teams can never have too many young, versatile defenders who can play multiple roles.

Key observations: A Butkus Award finalist and Bednarik Award semifinalist, Baun received a 91.0 pass-rushing grade from Pro Football Focus last season, but also received a coverage grade of 80-plus the last two years, which shows a little bit of his versatility.

He was the first consensus first-team All-American linebacker in Wisconsin history and his 12.5 sacks as a senior rank as the third highest single-season total in school history.

Baun reportedly submitted a diluted urine sample at the Combine drug test back in February. Baun has acknowledged the diluted sample, but says it was because he drank a lot of water in hopes of adding a few pounds to his size when he weighed in, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

What they had to say about him: "Baun is one of the most intriguing prospects in the class. He was predominantly an on-the-ball linebacker in Wisconsin's defense both in the base 3-4 as an OLB and as an edge pass rusher in the sub defense, but he also played snaps outside the box aligned over slot receivers and was also used as an underneath zone coverage defender (which he did very well).

"Baun consistently showed sudden explosive traits both as a pass rusher and run defender and what always stood out was he played fast with excellent recognition and reaction skills. Baun consistently featured highly competitive traits with smooth fluid athletic movement and the burst/flexibility/closing speed to rush the QB.

"The question with Baun is size. He has excellent rush traits but at less than 240 pounds can he be an effective edge rusher in the NFL against bigger and better OT's? That will be the defining question – Will some see a move to stacked LB given his high level athletic traits and play speed and range? Baun is a really good player with strong athletic traits and high level recognition and reaction instincts. He will find a place based on the DC and scheme." – Greg Cosell, NFL Films

How he stacks up: Baun is consistently ranked among the top linebackers in this class because of his terrific athletic traits and multiple skillset.

Baun comes in at No. 33 on NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of the top 50 prospects in the class.

Dane Brugler from The Athletic lists Baun as the fourth best linebacker available in the draft behind Isaiah Simmons (Clemson), Patrick Queen (LSU) and Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma).

"Despite his sack production in college, he will be an off-ball linebacker in the NFL and defensive play callers will need to be creative with how they allow him to rush," Brugler wrote of Baun. "A fantastic space athlete, Baun has the natural burst and loose hips to be deployed across the formation, handling open-field responsibilities."

Scouts Inc. lists Baun as the No. 39 prospect in this class and No. 4 linebacker.

What he had to say: "One of the teams identified me as like 'the toy' – a can do it all linebacker, give me the opportunity to rush the edge, play off the ball, drop into coverage, use all my skillsets to the fullest," Baun said at the Combine.

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