Football

2020 NFL Draft: Zack Baun’s positive test may impact stock

Zack Baun is hoping one mistake doesn’t cost him dearly. With the 2020 NFL Draft only nine days away, news broke that the former University of Wisconsin linebacker tested positive for a diluted sample at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Baun is believed to be a late-first round prospect. He has come out through his representation in a letter to NFL teams, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, explaining the situation. Per NFL.com:

“Zack was genuinely confused, upset and embarrassed by the results given the fact that the ‘dilute’ was the result of him drinking significant amounts of water before his weigh-in (the urine test occurred immediately thereafter),” the letter read. “Zack would welcome the opportunity to speak with any of you about this directly at your convenience…in fact, he’d be excited to do so.”

 

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Baun was a dominant force in the Big Ten. He racked up 75 tackles and 12.5 sacks as a senior with the Badgers. However, he was not much of a factor early in his career. He redshirted as a freshman in 2015 before playing in seven games as a reserve in 2016. After missing all of 2017 due to foot injury, Baun became a starter in 2018. Then, he amassed 62 tackles and 2.5 sacks before starring as a redshirt senior.

Whether the positive sample comes back to push Baun down the draft board remains to be seen. Throughout the process he’s largely been grouped with Kenneth Murray of Oklahoma and LSU’s Patrick Queen. They will bethe second, third and fourth linebackers to be selected in some order behind Isaiah Simmons of Clemson. Simmons is universally seen as a top-10 pick. Meanwhile, the other three are mostly projected to go in the 20s or early 30s.

 

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Looking at the total picture, Baun doesn’t have a lengthy list of off-field issues. If you give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps this sample is a blip on the radar. Most teams aren’t going to concern themselves with character concerns — if this even qualifies as one — provided they see enough potential in the player.

The 2020 NFL draft only a week and a half away. As a result there’s not much time to worry for Baun and his agents. The reality is he only needs one team to through the sample results in the proverbial trash before calling his name into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

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