Dallas Cowboys: A versatile defender worthy of first-round consideration

Zack Baun, Wisconsin Badgers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Zack Baun, Wisconsin Badgers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys have some work to do on the defensive side of the ball during this upcoming draft. So, why not a player that can do it all?

The 2020 NFL Draft is right around the corner and the Dallas Cowboys have been doing their due diligence on multiple prospects and you can catch a lot of those virtual interviews on multiple platforms online.

One recent interview was with an extremely versatile prospect from the University of Wisconsin, Zach Baun. The 6-foot-2, 238 lbs. linebacker/edge rusher was a Swiss army knife for the Badgers. He can rush the passer, play the run and drop into coverage when needed.

The second-team All-American combined for 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks during his senior season. Both stats were among the top ten in the nation this past year. Baun’s latest projections have been seen as a late first-round pick or early day two, second-round pick.

Baun has the ability to play in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes. The Cowboys head coach, Mike McCarthy has said the team will stay within the 4-3 scheme according to CBS Sportswriter Patrik Walker but will become more multiple with new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Under a hybrid or multiple defensive schemes, players such as Baun become even more important to a defense because their skill set allows them to stay on the field no matter the game situation. A Baun comparison I like to throw around with McCarthy as the head coach is Clay Matthews.

I’ll reiterate the best part about Baun. His diversity. He can fly to the football on run downs as an exceptional sideline to sideline linebacker and he is a very aggressive downhill run defender who can cause havoc off the edge. One thing you can’t question about Baun is his motor.

Baun has shown fluid-like range and has smooth hips when dropping into coverage as well. Within a pass-happy league this can be a great asset to have a guy like him to cover tight ends and running backs.

Whether you want to stand him up or let him put his hand in the dirt he has the speed, bend, and get-off that NFL tackles are going to have an issue with. He has rare twitch and explosion with great hands that allow him to shed blocks or rush the passer.

Baun has excellent speed that allows him to track down ball carriers from the backside or cause disruption immediately in the backfield. On film, you can also notice his ability to sink, extend and set the edge for his teammates in the run game.

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Cowboys fans should be thrilled with the selection of a player like Baun to have on the defensive side of the ball. Especially if the Boys do decide to move towards a hybrid/multiple defense schemes. A player of his caliber and versatility can’t be ignored come round two or potentially in a trade back late round one.