Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue looking at prospects in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draftfrom a decidedly Cowboys point of view. Taking the Cowboys current personnel, draft position, scheme, and needs into consideration; defensive line, linebacker, defensive backs, as well as complementary offensive pieces at tight end and right tackle, we hope to profile the majority of the potential prospects that could realistically end up as Cowboys within the first two rounds. Once all of the “official visits” leak we’ll add prospects that are possibilities in the later rounds.
Today’s Prospect - (Reported pre-draft visitor)
#93 - Tarell Basham - Defensive End - Ohio - 6-4, 269
Games Watched: Tennessee, Troy, Western Michigan (Full Game on YouTube), Idaho (2015), Appalachain St. (2015)
Pros: Ideal size for a 4-3 defensive end with long arms (34+ inches) and good bulk. Shows patience without over-committing and plays assignment-sound on the edge with a good understanding of how to play contain without immediately crashing down the line. Very active, works to get off blocks, relentless in pursuit. Excellent in the run game, very aggressive, doesn’t shy away from contact, and plays with very good power at the point of attack. Quick enough to beat linemen across their face and too strong for tight ends to handle. Extremely strong and active hands, although his usage is unrefined. Good, not great burst/first step. Shows the ability to dip his shoulder to limit contact surface. Shows nice closing speed for his size once he gets an opening. Excellent inside-counter move. Concerns over level of competition were eased with impressive performances at the Senior Bowl and against Tennessee. Experience playing at right and left defensive end, standing up, and dropping into coverage at times.
Cons: Lacks ideal explosiveness and bend. Pushed past the pocket too often. A bit stiff in space and not very sudden. Could improve on twists/stunts, not very smooth when running those types of games up front. Pass rush technique and hand usage need to be refined, often looks mechanical when attempting pass-rush moves (flashes a spin but it isn’t smooth). Not a “quick twitch” type of rusher off the edge.
Conclusion: Some might pigeon-hole Basham as more of a “left” defensive end due to a lack of pure speed and explosiveness, but he’s shown enough to make me think he can handle either spot. He isn’t the prototype “right” defensive end in Rod Marnelli’s scheme but he has the look of a long-time, three-down starter who can win in a variety of ways aside from just pure speed. Outside of the top two or three defensive end prospects I believe he may be the most well-rounded prospect in the draft as far as being able to stop the run and bringing juice off the edge, all while doing so with ideal size and length.
Some may criticize Basham’s speed, taking that as an indication that he should play strictly on the left side, but here’s some food for thought. At 269 lbs Basham ran a 4.70 40, T.J. Watt ran a 4.69 at 252 lbs, Solomon Thomas ran a 4.69 at 273, and Myles Garrett ran a 4.64 at 272.
Taking into account weight there isn’t much difference there. Basham didn’t test quite as well in some of the other categories, but he certainly didn’t do poorly. What I’m getting at is that he may be a better athlete with a bit more speed than many give him credit for. Basham actually finished with the 7th best 40 among defensive ends, and most of those who ran faster weighed less than him. The only guys who ran faster at a higher weight were top-10 picks Garrett and Thomas.
Long story short, I’d be thrilled to land a defensive end with as complete a game as Basham at 60, and if the team were to trade down into the 40-45 range he’d be at the very top of my wishlist.
I do not have access to coach’s film or anything of that nature, I just watch plenty of football (television broadcast version) and go off what I see out of a prospect.
Special thanks to DraftBreakdown for posting the videos that help provide a more in-depth look at this year’s prospects.