Scouting the NFL Draft: Ohio EDGE Tarell Basham

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Tarell Basham, EDGE, Ohio
Ht. 6'3½", Wt. 269, Arm: 34¼", Hand: 10¼", Bench: 15
40 yd: 4.70, 10 yd.: 1.61, 3 Cone: 7.27, Vertical: 31½", Broad: 9'11"

The Mid-American Conference has produced some talented players in the NFL, like this year's NFL Defensive Player of the Year Kahlil Mack — the 2013 MAC Defensive Player of the Year at Buffalo. The former Offensive Players of the Year from the MAC is impressive: Ben Roethisberger of Ohio and Randy Moss, Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich of Marshall.

Tarell Basham will try to add his name to the list of MAC Defensive Players of the Year making a successful transition to the NFL. Unlike those from the MAC I mentioned, Basham will not be drafted in the first round. He did have one more sack his POY campaign that Mack did.

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The Ohio Bobcat leaves Athens as the all time leader in sacks with 29.5 in his three seasons as a starter. The 6'4" 262-pound end is one of the players the Cowboys have making an official visit to The Star.

Basham flashed his skills at the Senior Bowl and left scouts looking forward to turning his draft card. He made himself some during Senior Bowl week.

"Scouts were eager to see how well he'd fare against the top competition in Mobile," Dane Brugler of said. "The answer has been as emphatic as it has been impressive, as Basham has been virtually unblockable, winning with his initial quickness, bend, strong hands and a variety of pass rush moves, including a wicked spin."

Strengths (per former NFL Scout Chris Landry)
• The athleticism he displayed was outstanding - smooth, quick change of direction and moved with speed to every area of the field
• He was terrific rushing the passer out of a three-point stance, effective getting to the signal-caller standing over tackle and flashed ability playing in space
• Man amongst boys in the MAC, but will need to gain more strength to duplicate his success in the NFL
• May need a year or two to acclimate to the greater speed of the NFL but possesses the traits and work ethic necessary to handle the jump in competition.

Weaknesses (per Landry and draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki)
• Inconsistent snap anticipation, getting a late start
• Lacks elastic bend around the edge and shows some stiffness in open space
• Wild pass rush sequence and needs to stay under control mid-rush
• Active, but rudimentary hand use, lacking a coordinated plan
• Pads tend to rise at contact, stalling his counter moves
• Inconsistent break down skills, attacking off-balance and not finishing the ballcarrier - shifty runners can juke him in small spaces
• Functional length, but streaky timing and doesn't always protect his chest
• Medical history needs inspected.
• Benched pressed 225 pounds only 15 times at the Scouting Combine
• Has not developed a diverse pass-run arsenal and must refine his repertoire to compete against more nuanced NFL big bodies
• Overly reliant at this time on his speed and agility and must incorporate a better bull rush to his game

NFL Draft comparison: Ryan Kerrigan

"Basham is a poor man's Kerrigan in the fact that he doesn't quite possess the strength throughout his frame that Kerrigan had coming out of Purdue."
Pro Football Focus

Verdict: Second round

Basham has the long arms teams love to see in a edge rusher. His 71 total pressures were fifth-most in the country last season. He could be rotational player for the Cowboys this fall and become a starter in 2018.

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