New Eagles LB Zack Baun brings plenty of untapped potential to develop

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is pictured prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles were the center of attention yesterday as they exploded into the free agency market. Saquon Barkley and Bryce Huff were marquee signings by the team, but there was another player signed on Monday who slipped through the cracks. His name is Zack Baun, and a closer look at his tape and profile highlight some real untapped potential.

Who is Zack Baun?

Zack Baun was a third round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints and since then, has largely played in a special teams role. He played in a career-high 27% of defensive snaps in 2022, rallying to 30 total tackles, 4 TFL and an interception. He’s only joined the Eagles on a one-year deal, but that’s enough for the team to see what they have.

A Quick Look at Baun’s highlights from 2023 show us a pretty interesting player. He’s not only an off-ball linebacker, but someone that can line up on both sides, at the line of scrimmage, and drop back into coverage. He displays impressive footballing instincts and patience when playing the run, and rarely takes a bad angle.

Another freak athlete joins the Eagles

The biggest thing we can take from his tape is sheer speed. Baun’s explosiveness help him thrive when rushing the passer. He maintains wide angles so he can sustain that speed vertically, knowing he has the agility to climb back into the pocket if he’s beaten his block.

Baun displays a sense of self awareness in his play. He knows he can’t beat 300 lbs linemen in iso matchups, so instead tears down the edge vertically and tries to work back around them. It works, but could be countered if used too much.

I was intrigued to see what his RAS numbers were after watching his tape, and lo and behold, he had an elite score in the 3-cone drill and graded out at 7.84. He lost a lot of points on his vertical jump, but as an agile athlete, he put up some impressive numbers, including a 4.65 40-yard dash.

The Eagles have an interesting picture at linebacker. As things stand, we don’t know if Reddick will return, and if Fangio views him and Nolan Smith as players who can play that off-ball role. If not, then Baun is someone who will be competing for a starting role this offseason thanks to his secure tackling, high football IQ, and insane speed.

Eagles Haason reddick
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick celebrates after sacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire