2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Ohio OLB Tarell Basham

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Tarell Basham/OLB Ohio – 6’3/6 269

The Good

– NFL size with the height/weight/length you look for (34 1/4 arms, 10 1/4 hands)
– Heavy hands who strikes with a violent punch
– Uses length well to create space in run and pass game
– Has vision and hand use to find the ball and work off blocks against the run
– Big lower half and shows functional strength, does great job to hold the POA in the run game
– Shows good first step when he manages to time the snap, able to one-gap and penetrate vs the run
– Runs hard to the ball and is an impactful tackler, like his effort, no loafs

The Bad

– Tight-hipped and has trouble winning the edge with speed
– Can disappear as a pass rusher when unable to win with power, not much of a finesse guy
– Mistimes the snap far too often and is often late off the ball as a pass rusher
– Most experience came with hand down and going forward, didn’t drop much and looked uncomfortable when asked to do so
– Will overrun plays and lose his run fits


– 2 1/2 year starter, 37 total for the Bobcats
– Career: 38.5 TFL, 27 sacks, 5 FFs
– 2016: 14.5 TFL, 9 sacks
– Named MAC DPOY senior season
– Ran a 4.7 40 and 1.61 ten split at the Combine

Tape Breakdown

Think I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating. In an EDGE class that’s as deep as ever, Basham’s name is easy to forget. He’s a different mold than some of the others. He goes through you, not around you, and in that way it’ll remind you a lot of LaMarr Woodley.

Basham has long arms, big hands, and a nasty demeanor. It adds up to a violent punch that can knock linemen off their base, like he does to the LG looping inside on this stunt.

He’s going to win by converting speed to power with that punch he has. As he does in this clip in 2015 against my beloved Idaho Vandals.

Basham is really impressive against the run and that’s a strong reason why I think he’s ready for an immediate impact. He’s not going to be a liability playing with good technique, using his length, and a quick first step when he times the snap. He can two and one gap and overall is a disruptive force.

That phrasing in that last paragraph is key. Despite a host of starting experience, he struggles to time the snap as a pass rusher and is late off the ball too often. Here’s a photo montage.

Part of that is making him an ineffective pass rusher and I guess in a way, is a reason for optimism. There are obvious ways he’ll get better. But even if he does, he’ll never be confused for a Von Miller type capable of bending the edge with the tackle never laying so much as a finger on him. He’s a big guy and like a lot of big guys, he shows stiffness in his hips/ankles.

Because of his style, I don’t think he’s ever going to have gaudy sack numbers. He definitely won’t be a sexy pass rusher. I think he caps out at around a 10 sack-max type player, a little under Woodley, who had the height advantage – he was about two inches shorter than Basham – and he was a little bendier, too. But Basham should be a solid player against the run, get a lot of pressure, even if they don’t always translates to sacks because he’s going through the tackle, not around. He’s a pocket mover and is going to force QBs to move their launch point a ton.

If you can get him in the third, you have yourself a steal.

Projection: Mid-Late Day Two

Games Watched: at Idaho, vs Appalachian State, at Tennessee, vs Troy

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh ReynoldsNazair Jones
De’Veon SmithDavis WebbObi MelifonwuTJ WattJohn Ross
Jerod EvansVince BiegelJosh CarrawayJosh MaloneKevin King
Fadol BrownChris GodwinNate GerryJordan WillisStacy Coley
Jimmie GilbertZay Jones

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Bill Sechrengost

    Keep them coming Alex. I’ve been insistent the Steelers have to take an edge rusher in the first round, but with the depth at that position, I am open to the possibility of them drafting another position in the first round and waiting for round 2 for an edge rusher. Thanks for the good work, as always.

  • Spencer Krick

    Basham would be a good EDGE option in round 2, if the team goes DB or TE in round 1. He’d be able to share snaps with Harrison on day one. Does he look decent in space or was he never asked to drop in coverage?

  • Bryant Eng

    I have watched some tape on this kid, and I would love to see him fall into the fourth round. You’re probably correct in your view that his value is higher, but I thought the same about M. Bryant. It would be great to see the draft go as follows: 1. OLB/CB, 2. OLB/CB, 3a. WR/RB 3b. WR/RB/TE, 4. OLB, 5. CB/S, 6. DL/S, 7. ST.

  • falconsaftey43

    Yeah, not sure he can function in space very well.

  • Burgh Ball

    agreed – I wrote something similar yesterday re Basham… Lost in Space (Senior Bowl).. need to look at risk vs value… and I would not mind a late 3rd on him any earlier – no thanks..

  • Alex did you see his fellow linebacker Brown flash at all? I enjoy doing mocks and with minimal research sort of liked him as a later 6-7 rd pick.

  • Steve

    Basham is a Beast. In the first Gif he almost pancakes #75, with the RB #11 running away. In the 3rd Gif Basham has the running back on one arm and #67 on the other and pushes them both back 5 yards. I’ll bet this guy will learn very well how to be a cover LB in the Pros. With his high motor and strong arms, he will make mush out of some OT. Basham is a Steeler type OLB and would make a nice pickup with the supplemental 3rd rounder we picked up. This guy reminds me a of Taller James Harrison and knows how to set the Edge. I never knew pass rushing was sexy – HA!

  • Applebite

    Every year, they have a Top 50 players list for the draft. It’s supposedly the best 50 players available to the 32 teams in the league. This might be the first time ever, that there would be too many left out of the Top 50 list, and would possibly justify a Top 100 players list instead.

    If you have doubts about what I’m saying here, make a list, and look at the names left out.

  • Alex Kozora

    A little, I know he’s considered a sleeper, but I don’t pay much attention to anyone else when I am doing these reports. Focus in on just the guy I intended to watch.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    If they could get him with one of the picks in the 3rd I’d be very happy. I do like the Woodley-like smashers. They just need to find a guy named Smashum to pair with him. Smashum & Basham creating carnage 😂.