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Playing the value: Carlos Basham at 44 or Cameron Sample at 138 for the Cowboys in the 2021 draft

Which pick holds more value for the Cowboys?

North Carolina v Wake Forest Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

One the greatest things about the NFL Draft is how much value comes into play. Whether it’s positional value or round value, winning the NFL Draft all comes from getting value in your selections.

The Cowboys are likely discussing that now in their pre-draft meetings and figuring out what positions and/or players they could take earlier than others due to the value that could be there later in the draft. One of the more interesting conversations come with what the Cowboys will do with the 44th overall pick.

A name mentioned a lot here recently is Wake Forest EDGE Carlos “Boogie” Basham. While Basham is an interesting candidate for the 44th overall pick, there’s similar player, that I like on a similar level, that could be had later on in the draft. Which would you prefer?

Carlos Basham at 44th overall or Cameron Sample at 138th overall?

Basham, a four-year player at Wake Forest, enters the NFL Draft as one of the more productive EDGE’s in the country. Basham has logged 19.5 sacks, 35.5 tackles for loss, and 173 tackles. He is listed at 6’3”, 274-lbs, and posted some impressive numbers at his Pro Day this offseason as well. Here’s what his testing numbers looked like:

  • 32 7/8” arms (34th percentile)
  • 34” vertical (61st percentile)
  • 122” broad jump (82nd percentile)
  • 20 reps on bench (30th percentile)
  • 4.64 40-time (81st percentile)
  • 4.25 short shuttle (84th percentile)
  • 7.13 3-cone (60th percentile)

Looking at Basham’s tape, it’s easy to see what he’s good at - being one of the most explosive athletes on the field for a 6’3”, 274-lb defensive end. He has the ability to rush from the inside as well, and that’s where he could make most of his money early on in his career. For Basham, he’s a guy you’d definitely have to take with the 44th overall pick, and that’s if he gets there.

But what if you could get a similar style of player a few rounds later, without a massive drop-off in talent?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 04 Armed Forces Bowl - Southern Miss v Tulane Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

That’s where Tulane EDGE/DL Cameron Sample comes into play. A name that’s not quite being talked about enough.

Like Basham, Sample is a bigger-build EDGE that also possesses the ability to reduce down inside on obvious passing downs. Sample is a high-effort, explosive pass rusher, who also has high-quality run defense reps off the EDGE for Tulane. Let’s compare Sample’s Pro Day metrics as well:

  • 6’3” 267-lbs
  • 33 1/8” arms (49th percentile)
  • 37” vertical (87th percentile)
  • 116” broad jump (46th percentile)
  • 23 reps on bench (56th percentile)
  • 4.79 40-time (42nd percentile)
  • 4.48 short shuttle (31st percentile)
  • 7.39 3-cone (26th percentile)

As the numbers would suggest, Basham is the more flexible athlete showcasing more bend-ability off the EDGE with a bit more agility, but when you dive into Sample’s tape, you can make the case that he plays with more agility than his short shuttle would suggest. Another thing that’s intriguing about Sample is he actually ended up with a higher “high quality productivity” grade, which is a metric I use when doing grades to determine how much of a player’s production was considered high-quality (good pass rush moves vs unblocked sacks/TFL, etc).


Which would you prefer? And which guy do you think has more value with where they would be drafted?