Ravens: 3 linebackers to target at the 2021 trade deadline

Ravens, Jordan Hicks Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Jordan Hicks Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ravens, Zack Baun Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Ravens trade target: Zack Baun, LB, New Orleans Saints

A third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Zack Baun has never managed to find a consistent role in New Orleans.

Baun shined at Wisconsin as a hybrid edge rusher/linebacker who can contribute in multiple ways on defense. But with the Saints, he’s been a bit miscast as a prototypical off-ball linebacker.

He’s shown improvements in that role from his rookie season and seems to be a little more comfortable at the position, but that hasn’t stopped him from falling down the depth chart again.

The hope was to see Baun take that next step in 2021, and it looked very possible after a strong summer. Unfortunately, an untimely injury saw him fall out of the starting lineup early in the year and he hasn’t recovered.

Baun is buried on the Saints’ linebacker depth chart and hasn’t played a defensive snap since Week 4, prompting trade rumors. Perhaps the Ravens could come calling.

Baun isn’t a perfect fit for what the Ravens are looking for, and he wouldn’t be brought in to replace any of the team’s current linebackers.

Instead, he could serve as a versatile chess piece for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s defense, somewhat in the mold of a Tyus Bowser-type player.

The plus side is that his 70.8 Pro Football Focus run defense grade would be among the league leaders at his position had he played enough snaps to qualify. He’s missed just two tackles this season.

Given the Ravens’ tackling issues, Baun might be a worthwhile trade target to explore.