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Player Profile: Colts Defensive End Tarell Basham

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NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Measurables:

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 266 pounds | Age: 24 | Experience: 1 Year

40-yard dash: 4.7 sec | Bench: 15 reps | Vertical: 31.5 inches | Broad Jump: 119 inches | 3-cone: 7.27 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.35 sec

Professional Transactions:

NFL Career Stats:

15 games | 0 starts | 7 total tackle | 2 sacks | 1 forced fumble

What Scouts Were Saying Pre-Draft:

Basham has the strength and length to play as a 4-3 base end or as a 3-4 rush linebacker, but his pass rush approach will need to be sharpened.. Basham may never produce a high sack total, but his alpha playing style will appeal to teams looking to groom a solid backup with starter’s potential.”

Lance Zierlein

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. Basham’s motor makes him easy to root for. He plays at 100 miles an hour snap after snap with no regard for his body. That said, he’s not a natural on the edge by any means and is more of a bull in a china shop at this point.

PFF Analysis Team

Tarell Basham from Ohio is a really underrated prospect that could wind up being a steal.”

Todd McShay

On-Field Impact:

Basham was a bit out of his element in his rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts. He was not only more familiar with a 4-3 when being thrust into Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 base defense, but he’d literally never not been in a 4-3 previous to that. Basham got some good experience having to learn more responsibilities within his role last season, but now he gets to play more freely in Matt Eberflus’ scheme as a second-year pass rusher.

Basham’s ceiling is evident as an instinctual player, however, within some of the finer points of the game, he still has quite a bit to work on.

Strengths:

Power, Burst and Motor

One of the most impressive attributes of Basham’s skill set is his ability to over power virtually anyone set out to protect their quarterback. When he’s a designated pass rusher, his burst pops off of the screen and is pertinent to his other skills to taking shape throughout a play.

Leverage may be the one thing that Basham needs to make a more consistent part of his play-to-play repertoire. As a rookie, it wasn’t easy for him to put it all together each snap — mainly because of his playing a new role — but when he had the opportunity to shoot out in pursuit of the quarterback, his instincts tended to drive the train.

Above you see Basham use his length and speed to create leverage, getting his body at a 45-degree angle, and is decisive in his trek to the passer. Basham has very good strength at the point of attack, but when he sets himself up for success like this most tackles won’t have a chance against even one of his rudimentary secondary moves to disengage.

Below we again see his up-field burst setting up a successful snap. Basham goes hard at the tackle’s outside shoulder and beats him to the spot allowing him to run the arc all the way to a strip sack.

Weaknesses:

Secondary move, plan of attack and holding the edge

When looking at some of Basham’s lesser qualities, there’s an understanding that most of his weaknesses are directly related to experience and repetition. Basham almost always comes with the requisite amount of power, but what comes next is pretty inconsistent.

When presented with a mismatch with a tight end, Basham is hesitant early in year 1. Even as a rookie, he should be licking his chops when he sees this. The quarterback gets rid of the ball pretty quickly, but you want to see Basham taking a more direct angle to the passer just the same.

You’ll see this throughout his rookie tape. He struggles to get upfield far enough to force the running back to change his route. He gives a clean release to the tight end, and still doesn’t close off the edge allowing for a pretty big run.

We see another issue below. Basham’s hand usage, and plan from play to play is lacking creativity. He often doesn’t have a plan of attack outside of the bullrush. His inability to effectively counter what the tackle is doing is something he’ll have to improve on in 2018.

We often saw Basham get into the habit of trying to match strength with linemen when caught in their clutches. The power to disengage is rarely available with one move in any player’s toolbox. He loses his power when his speed isn’t in the equation, and needs to work on his close-combat moves in order to better disengage. Without that, it makes him more of just an initial threat to the passer.


For Tarell Basham, the 2018 season is one in which he’ll be carrying some massive expectations. Fans, for the most part, will be satisfied with seeing an upward tick in play and some solid production from Basham. On the other hand, Ballard and Eberflus will be expecting much more with the added familiarity to the new scheme.

Most of what we’ve heard from the players is how excited they are to play within a defense without having to think, to ‘just go’ and having fewer responsibilities for the front seven. This, if nothing else, should greatly benefit Basham’s game.

What’s more is with the additions of Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay in the 2018 NFL Draft, Basham has some immediate competition for quality snaps. Some people perform better when their backs are against the wall.

Basham has all of the physical tools to be an effective pass rusher and disruptor. Whether or not he can develop into a technician to match his physicality could determine his future in Indianapolis.