This offseason there were some glaring needs all over the Indianapolis Colts’ roster. One of the larger, if not the largest, needs to be addressed was finding a pass rush. Robert Mathis retired, Erik Walden wasn’t re-signed and aside from the youngsters crawling up the practice squad Akeem Ayers was the lone returner worth talking about.
Jabaal Sheard and John Simon were brought in through free agency, but neither were legitimately viewed as impact sack artists. Thus, the Colts drafted Tarell Basham in the third-round seemingly to bolster the defenses ability to get to the quarterback with some young talent.
Basham notched 88 tackles, 24.5 for loss, and 15 sacks in his last two seasons in college and with him standing 6-foot-4, 266 pounds the idea was to get a well-rounded edge defender who could get into the backfield and stop the run. Additionally, Pro Football Focus had him down for 71 total pressures in his senior season at Ohio University, which was fifth-most by their count.
However, since arriving in Indianapolis Basham has been very quiet. Not much came out of rookie minicamp, OTAs or minicamp and he didn’t really pop at any time through training camp.
Through three weeks of the preseason, Basham has 4 total tackles (1 for loss), zero sacks and is getting around 40 total snaps (including special teams) per game to this point. Yet PFF dropped this tweet grading him out very well in Week 1 of the preseason. I need to see how that grade is configured to better understand it I guess.
But, the question remains: When, exactly, are we to expect to see something jump off the screen at us? If something were standing out of note, I have to believe that I would have some better insight on this. As sad as it is to admit, I’ve watched all three of their games no less than twice – and I can’t think of a single play in which I nodded my head and said to myself “oh, there it is.”
Furthermore, he was drafted to make an impact, to force teams to gameplan for him, to be a force in rushing the passer. Wasn’t he? I mean, I can’t imagine the idea was to draft Basham solely to be an edge setter. Right?
We’re not seeing him collapse the pocket, or forcing the quarterback to climb the pocket and though he’s solid holding the edge against the run he’s not really making much of an impact there at all either. I understand it could take a while if we’re expecting him to be a double-digit sack guy each year, but to not see much of a pass rush at all from him, to me, is a touch concerning.
Right now, at this very moment, Barkevious Mingo is showing considerably more burst, hand technique and urgency in getting to the passer. Maybe it’s just his effort showing through, and maybe Basham’s isn’t.
To be clear, this isn’t some issue that I’ve had with Basham being drafted where he was, or that the Colts should have gone in another direction in hunting a pass rusher. I liked Basham’s tape – a lot. But, the fact remains that whatever he is supposed to be offering this defense that is bereft of young, impressive talent, it isn’t showing up on game day.
One would suspect that we’ll see Basham getting some extended play this Thursday when the Colts host the Cincinnati Bengals for their final preseason matchup. The back end of the roster will be fighting it out to earn roster spots, and to climb depth charts. Though the best talent may not be there on display in Week 4, but we truly need to see the best he has to offer at the bare minimum.
If we don’t – without the effort, and very little production to show for his time on the field thus far – what exactly do we have in Tarell Basham?