The New Orleans Saints addressed a major need on Friday night.
With injury concerns to linebackers Alex Anzalone and Kiko Alonso, the franchise entered the NFL Draft with a need on the defensive side of the football. The Saints though passed on drafting a linebacker in the first round, opting to select Michigan offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz instead. After not having a second-round pick, the Saints had to wait until the third round to select a linebacker.
New Orleans traded this year’s third-round pick (No. 88) and next year’s third-round pick to the Cleveland Browns. In exchange, the Saints received Cleveland’s third-round pick (No. 74) and pick No. 244. The Saints used that third-round pick to select Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun.
Baun recorded 12.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss, and 76 tackles as a senior for the Badgers and became the program’s first consensus first-team All-American linebacker in history. Baun was also a finalist for the Butkus Award, and a semifinalist for Bednarik semifinalist. Baun played primarily linebacker but also played some at defensive end.
Baun was rated as first-round or early second-round draft prospect but did inform all 32 teams that he had tested positive for a diluted sample at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. That does not count as failed test by the NFL.
The Saints then made a surprise move at the end of the third round.
New Orleans traded its remaining picks (No. 130, No. 169, No. 203 and No. 244) in this year’s draft to acquire Minnesota’s third-round pick (No. 105). After acquiring the next-to-last pick in the third round, the Saints selected Dayton tight end Adam Trautman.
Trautman hauled in 70 receptions for 916 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns in 11 games for the Flyers in 2019. Trautman was named the Pioneer League Offensive Player of the Year and earned first-team Associated Press FCS All-American honors. In his collegiate career, the former high school quarterback, caught 178 catches for 2,295 yards and 31 touchdowns.