The Bengals took a short trip east to University of Ohio on Wednesday where defensive end Tarell Basham was the star of the school's pro day. 27 teams were in attendance, the Bengals among them, to see the MAC defensive player of the year.
Basham ran a 4.70 second 40-yard dash at the Combine and it's believed he shaved up to seven-hundredths` of a second off that time at his pro day. In 2016 he registered 10 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and 50 total tackles, while making a name for himself as someone to watch leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft.
Basham is Ohio’s all-time sack leader with 29 career sacks after starting all four years. He also spent one year after high school at Hargrave Military Academy. Though he often played against inferior competition at Ohio, he’s believed to have a very high upside and there have been reports of many teams expressing interest in him. The Cowboys reportedly took him out for dinner on the night before his pro day.
Basham is 6-foot-4 and 269 pounds, so while he's not quite as tall as the Bengals typically like their defensive ends to be, he mostly fits the mold. He has impressive power, is quicker than you'd think for someone his size and fits the Bengals' 4-3 scheme. He could use some work as a pass rusher, even though his sack totals in college were pretty impressive. He will likely need a few years of NFL work and coaching to fully reach his potential, and the Bengals need a pass rusher who can make an immediate impact. With that said, he might not be a great choice for Cincinnati unless he falls further than expected.
CBS Sports projects Basham as a second round pick and a top 10 defensive end in this year's draft. Draft Analyst feels the same. But, not everyone shares that belief. Walter Football has him ranked as the 17th best defensive end in the draft and a Round 4-6 pick. If he can be had on Day 3, the Bengals could be interested. But, if CBS Sports has it right, it’s unlikely the Bengals will use their second round pick on a player who needs a few years to really make an impact at the NFL level. The Bengals should be seeking as many immediate impact players as possible in the first few rounds of the draft.
Ohio's only other player with a draftable grade is inside linebacker Blair Brown, who's thought to be a seventh round pick. A first-team All-MAC pick in 2016 (which Basaham was as well), Brown led the Bobcats with 128 tackles, 15 of which went for losses, and had 4.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble in 2016. He's an instinctive player who's athletic and a quality tackler. Those are all traits the Bengals could use so it wouldn’t be surprising if the team was also checking out Brown on Wednesday while in Athens.