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NFL Draft 2017: Q&A with Ohio defensive end Tarell Basham

With the 2017 NFL Draft days away we spoke with a prospect who has been mentioned as a top target for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Days ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft, Cincy Jungle had an opportunity to speak with former Ohio University defensive end Tarell Basham, who has been linked to the Cincinnati Bengals as a potential day two pick. Earlier this draft season, the Bengals were among 27 teams that attended Ohio’s pro day to see Basham run a 4.63 second 40-yard time, an improvement of seven-hundredths of a second from the NFL Scouting Combine.

At the Combine, Basham ran a 4.70 second 40-yard dash, registered 15 reps on the bench press, had a 31.5" vertical jump, 9'11" broad jump, 7.27 second 3-cone drill and 4.35 second 20-yard shuttle.

In his freshman year (2013), Basham received Freshman All-American honors for his 9.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. His 2016 season, in which he was the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, saw him record 49 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks and put him into the mix as a potential day two pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

His continued improvement in each year of college, great size, high motor and exceptional effort are all reasons teams like the Bengals should be interested in Basham. Ahead of the draft, he’s met with 12 NFL defensive line coaches and three linebacker coaches.

Position: Defensive end

School: Ohio University

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 269 pounds

Arm Length: 34 1/4”

Hands: 10 1/4

40-yard dash: 4.7 seconds

Bench press: 15 reps

Vertical jump: 31 1/2”

Broad jump: 119”

20-yard shuttle: 4.35 seconds

3-cone drill: 7.27 seconds

So, let’s get to our conversation with Basham.

Cincy Jungle: How’s your week going? Are you ready for the draft?

Tarell Basham: It’s going really well. I’ve got my mom here on campus with me, and my family is coming in later in the week. My girlfriend is graduating this weekend as well so it’s a pretty big week.

CJ: What has your life been like in the weeks leading up to the draft?

TB: Traveling has been crazy. I’ve been to a lot of different places and trying to work out at the hotels and in the training rooms and hopping in the pool. When I’m back here on campus, I’m working out with my strength coach.

CJ: How will you be spending this week and weekend?

TB: I’m going to be with my family here on campus at OU.

CJ: What do you think will be the biggest transition from a MAC school to the NFL?

TB: Football is football. So it’s probably going to be a little faster than I’m used to, but I’ll adjust and be making plays.

CJ: What do you know about the Bengals? Do you think they’d be a good spot for you?

I like the way the Bengals play. They’re very good off the edge and play off the ball, it’s an attack type of defense. They allow their defensive ends to play free and make plays. I met with Coach (Jacob) Burney, the defensive line coach, he’s a really good coach and seems like he’ll push you hard to be great, which is why I think they have so much success with their defensive line.

CJ: How would you explain your playing style to someone who has never watched you play?

TB: Energetic and exciting.

CJ: What are your ultimate goals in the NFL?

TB: Make an impact on whatever team I’m on and become a part of a defense and be known for something. And, to win Super Bowls.

CJ: What are you most proud about from your time in college?

TB: Just the time I’ve spent on the field with the other guys on the defensive line and making those plays and those memories on the sidelines and in the locker room.