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Eagles reportedly signing former 3rd-round outside linebacker

The Eagles are reportedly signing former third-round linebacker Zack Baun to a one-year deal.

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The Eagles’ busy first day of free agency continued early Monday evening when they reportedly reached a deal with free agent outside linebacker Zack Baun.

The one-year deal for Baun was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Saints drafted Baun in the third-round (No. 74 overall) in the 2020 draft out of Wisconsin. During his four years with the Saints, Baun was a huge special teams contributor and a rotational piece on defense. This is far from a huge splash but Baun could be a contributor.

Baun, 27, is listed as a linebacker but is a bit of a hybrid player. He has the ability to play as an off-ball linebacker but can run the passer as an outside linebacker playing on the line.

Based on his usage in 2023 with the Saints, Baun (6-3, 225) is more of a pass-rushing outside linebacker to add depth on the edge than a possible solution to the Eagles’ hole at the off-ball linebacker position.

In 2023, Baun found some success as a pass rusher. He has the first two sacks of his career and 4 quarterbacks hits, playing primarily on the ball. He played a career-high 301 defensive snaps (27%) and 252 of them came on the line, according to ProFootballFocus.

Here’s a look at how Baun’s snaps broke down between playing in the box and on the line during his four years with the Saints, per PFF:

Box: 170
D-line: 466

During his four years with the Saints, Baun played in a total of 62 games with 14 starts. He had his best year in 2023 with 6 starts, an interception, 2 sacks, 4 QB hits and 30 tackles.

During the pre-draft process in 2020, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave Baun a comp of Kyle Van Noy and projected him to go in the first or second round.

“Ascending prospect whose explosive production on the field has begun to mirror his explosive athletic traits. Baun's twitchy get-off and deep bend at the edge is nightmare fuel for Big Ten tackles and he's still at the early stages of pass rush development. He is aggressive to flow downhill in run support, has sideline-to-sideline range and is fluid dropping into coverage. He's strong but a little light as an edge-setter so teams will need to figure out how best to align him. Baun is a scheme-diverse linebacker with high-impact potential whose best days are ahead of him.”

It took the Saints a while to figure out how to use Baun in their defense but the answer seemed to be as a situational pass rusher instead of an off-ball ‘backer. The Eagles still have work to do at the linebacker position this offseason.

While Baun was a part-time player on defense in New Orleans, he was a huge special teams contributor. He played 1,293 special teams snaps in his four years with the Saints. That total ranked 9th in the league during that span. He will be a solid addition to Michael Clay’s unit, which improved mightily in 2023.

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