Cowboys may have snagged edge Tarell Basham just in time for his best days

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After a strong showing at Senior Bowl practices, Tarell Basham saw his draft stock bumped up. The Indianapolis Colts drafted him in the third round of the 2017 draft, but he did next to nothing for them. Across 26 games he had only one start, tallying just two sacks, and 15 total tackles. This had some worried, because while Basham had excellent production in college, including ranking in the top five in pressures his final season, his game didn’t appear to transition to the NFL.

Basham relied on strength and motor at Ohio, with his bull rush being a primary component to his pressure arsenal and that is difficult to rely on at the NFL level without development of the other tools necessary. He did have a positive spin move, but his lack of bend and flexibility were seen as the biggest hurdles he’d need to overcome.

It should’ve been no surprise that he went to a team that asked him to stand up as a 3-4 edge as opposed to come out of his stance. That may identify the plans Dan Quinn has for the new No. 93 in the Dallas defense, as they continue to look for pieces for their hybrid defensive front.

Our 2021 Player Profile Countdown continues.

Background Details

Position: Edge Rusher Age: 27 Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 264 pounds Hometown: Rocky Mount, Virginia High School: Franklin County College: Ohio Draft: 2017 Round 3, No.80 overall Acquired: 2021 free agent signing

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Stats

Games

Def Interceptions

Fumbles

Tackles

23

IND

58

15

0

1

0

0

0

0

2.0

7

5

2

1

4

1

24

2TM

11

1

0.0

8

6

2

0

2

1

IND

58

1

0

0

NYJ

93

10

1

8

6

2

0

2

1

25

NYJ

93

16

2

1

1

0

1

6

0

0

1

2

0

2.0

33

18

15

3

4

3

26

NYJ

LOLB

93

16

9

0

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

3.5

36

19

17

5

13

4

Player Profile

Basham had a breakout year in 2020, matching or surpassing pretty much every career high. He started nine games in 2020, six more than the three he had from 2017 to 2019. Basham went from 48 tackles in three seasons to 36 in 2020, four sacks in three seasons to 3.5 in 2020. Even QB hits and forced fumbles increased dramatically from ten in three years to 13 last season and a single forced fumble to 3 just last season. The Cowboys could possibly have gotten a steal here on an ascending player, hitting his prime. That is even before mentioning he was a top-ten win rate run defender as an edge as well. The Cowboys had maybe their worst run defense of all time in 2020. The defense needed to get bigger up front to help keep the teams linebackers clean to run and tackle. Drafting players like Chauncey Gholston, Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna along with signings of Brent Urban and Basham was the design to do just that. The Cowboys also like the versatility Basham brings, he is built like a 4-3 DE, but hasn't played in the three-point stance very much in the NFL. There's no doubt he will be asked to do both for Quinn. Signed for two years at just $5.5 million total, he continues the trend for Dallas of trying to find inexpensive solutions for their defense while the offense gets the lion's share of the salary cap.

You can find Mike Crum on Twitter @cdpiglet or at Youtube on the About the Cowboys Podcast. This profile is part of our countdown series to the regular season.

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