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Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Let’s call last year a learning experience for Zack Baun. The New Orleans Saints traded up into the third round of the 2020 draft to select Baun after he spent his senior year at Wisconsin beating offensive linemen like a ...

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Old 06-20-2021, 09:53 AM   #1
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Let’s call last year a learning experience for Zack Baun.

The New Orleans Saints traded up into the third round of the 2020 draft to select Baun after he spent his senior year at Wisconsin beating offensive linemen like a drum off the edge to the tune of 12.5 sacks. The organization believed it saw an athlete who could transition to playing in space, a bit of a projectional dice roll that comes with developmental time baked in.

So Baun spent much of his rookie season waiting, learning and developing. Now, with Year 2 just over the horizon, Baun is hopeful he can show the difference a year makes.

“I’ve made so much progress,” Baun said. “… I’m excited to see where I go.”

He’s switched positions this offseason, moving from the strongside to the weakside, a change that will require him to be stronger in coverage. He trained for a few months back home in Wisconsin, but has been working in New Orleans since April on the technique that position requires.



“I know I’m capable,” Baun said. “Coaches know I’m capable. It’s just getting used to that mental (image), stepping back off the ball. It’s a big difference. You’ve got to widen your vision and see the whole picture. I’m watching a lot of film, still adjusting to that.”

He may be primed to play a dramatically larger role in the Saints defense this season. But there are some fair questions to ask about where the Saints’ faith in Baun lies.

Though he technically earned the starting strongside linebacker last season, he rarely saw the field since the Saints spent the overwhelming majority of their time in sub defensive personnel groupings that feature two linebackers. Baun played only 102 defensive snaps in his rookie season, including the playoffs.

When the Saints wanted to add some juice to their linebacker corps, they orchestrated a mid-season trade for Kwon Alexander. When Alexander was lost for the season with a torn Achilles, they turned to Alex Anzalone to play alongside Demario Davis in sub packages.

After cutting ties with both Alexander and Anzalone this offseason, the Saints selected Pete Werner in the second round of this year’s draft.

All of which adds up to wondering where Baun fits in the Saints’ defensive plans. But, to hear the Saints tell it, they saw what they needed to see from Baun while he worked in the background last season.

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Old 06-20-2021, 01:41 PM   #2
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Re: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

Didn't we get rid of...





...because the defense was too...




?!?
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Old 06-20-2021, 02:51 PM   #3
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Re: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

Apparently the Saints like to draft players only to learn a new position.

Season 2 and now Zach is being asked to play another position isn't great news.
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Old 06-20-2021, 03:04 PM   #4
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Re: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

Originally Posted by K Major View Post
Apparently the Saints like to draft players only to learn a new position.

Season 2 and now Zach is being asked to play another position isn't great news.
Seems to me since DeMario flourshed first as a WLB, put him there and let Baun, who was drafted to play MIKE, should play there...

Otherwise we've invested multiple picks into a SAM that will only see the field for ten plays plus kick coverage...
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Old 06-20-2021, 03:13 PM   #5
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Re: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

He’s a really good football player. Damn shame we’re probably not going to see any return on that investment. He would be so good in a multiple defensive scheme like New England, Miami or Baltimore.
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Old 06-20-2021, 03:45 PM   #6
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Re: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

Payton would find a way to mis-use Ricky Jackson if he were on the team.
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Old 06-21-2021, 12:40 PM   #7
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Re: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

“There's a sucker born every minute.”
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Old 06-25-2021, 12:50 AM   #8
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Re: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

Now that Kwon Alexander is gone he's gonna have to step in and show something on the field. They say he is 6'3" and 225, but he looks smaller on the field. I like his quickness off the edge in college, but that's not where he's playing now, so let's hope it translates into coverage ability this season.
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Old 06-29-2021, 03:51 PM   #9
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Rqe: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

Coach loves to screw with the defense. Stop drafting players you covet and realize he's not what you want. They should stop moving and limiting players. Draft someone who excels in all the phases of foot ball. They want to coach up a player but you can't make someone have skills they weren't born with.

I never played football but I have all the skills required of a strong safety. I'm 5'10" and 200 pounds. I'm not fast but I'm quick and deceptively fast with surprising coverage skills. I was lucky to play rugby but it would have been fun.

In essence, play a player where his skill set is and stop guessing where else to play him. It's a pet peave of mine. Rant over.
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Old 06-29-2021, 03:52 PM   #10
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Re: Saints' Zack Baun spent his rookie season learning. Is he ready to make the jump?

Let's take someone who rushed the passer really well in college and set some decent sack records and make him play middle or outside backer in a 4-3. Great job again Sean -_-
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