These NFL rookies will outperform their draft position in 2020

AJ Dillon, Boston College Eagles. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
AJ Dillon, Boston College Eagles. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Zack Baun, New Orleans Saints
MOBILE, AL – JANUARY 25: Linebacker Zack Baun #56 from Wisconsin of the North Team during the 2020 Resse’s Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on January 25, 2020 in Mobile, Alabama. The North Team defeated the South Team 34 to 17. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. New Orleans Saints. Zack Baun. 2. LB. 15

Baun’s combination of athleticism and collegiate production should have made him an intriguing prospect at the end of Round 1. Instead, the Saints were fortunate enough to grab him on Day 3. That could turn out to be a massive break for a franchise that is always looking for more edge rushers.

Rushing the passer is clearly Baun’s best skill. He won’t dominate opposing tackles with sheer speed off the edge, but he’s surprisingly quick for a man of his size. Baun’s motor also allows him to break down offensive lineman that lack the focus to hold their blocks for an extended period of time.

The best way for New Orleans to use the former Wisconsin star is as a hybrid rusher on obvious passing downs. He’s the rare outside linebacker who can be an outstanding blitzer and hold up when he’s asked to drop in coverage. That unpredictability gives his defense a major boost.

Baun isn’t going to burst onto the scene for double-digit sacks as a rookie, but he has a chance to make key plans for the Saints’ defense when its back is against the wall. Don’t be surprised if he finds a way to break into the team’s starting lineup by midseason.