Position: Defensive End
College Stats: 152 tackles, 38.5 tackles for loss, 27 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.
The fearsome defense of the Ohio Bobcats was led by non-other than Tarell Basham. Basham earned Mid-American Conference player of the year as a senior and led the MAC with 12 sacks in his senior season.
Basham earned ALL-MAC honors with a first-team selection as a down lineman.
Basham has NFL size at 6’4” and 269 lbs, coupled with his size, is his speed.
One of the best things I liked while watching film on Basham was his hustle. The guy has a motor and it never stops. He has good speed and in downfield plays, he is often able to track down players and make a tackle. Basham knows he has speed and uses it to the best of his advantage. He is able to find gaps in the offense line, get to them and put some pressure on the opposing quarterback.
Another great thing about Basham is his straight up athleticism. He posted a 31.5″ vertical jump at the combine and a 4.7 40-yard dash. He is an incredible athlete and it is evident that he has played a bit of basketball in his life. He uses his agility to deceive lineman. He does an excellent job of faking outside and going inside to beat offensive tackles. Basham looks to edge rush, but is willing to cut it back in with a good swim move.
One of the most impressive performances for Basham came versus SEC foe Tennessee. He was straight up dominant versus the Volunteers tackles with two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. While those stats alone are impressive, he was consistently in the backfield and gave UT quarterback Josh Dobbs no time to throw on multiple occasions.
It seems that some of Basham’s best qualities can also be his worst. When watching tape it’s clear that this guy is crazy athletic, but it seems that Basham’s speed sometimes runs himself out of plays.
One thing that really stood out to me is that he sometimes is extremely slow off of the ball. Now mistiming snap counts isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it can get Basham in some trouble. When matched up against Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton, a first-second round prospect with tremendous strength, the extra time that it took Basham to come off of the ball gave Moton enough time to set up and contain Basham.
Basham might be a small concern at strength. He posted a rather low 15 reps at the NFL combine. When Basham is firing off the ball, he’s great. But in the extra split second it takes him to get there, it takes away his speed advantage, forcing him to resort to trying to overpower offensive lineman.
Basham is incredibly talented and extremely deserving of his MAC defensive player of the year status. He hustles every single down and has a motor that never stops. His quickness and agility are his best strengths. His downfalls come in his timing and finesse.
In my mind, Basham is a fourth-round NFL Pick.