Football analyst Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player and scout, will break down all of the Cowboys' free-agent veteran signings of the offseason. Today, he'll continue with edge defender Tarell Basham.
- Name: Tarell Basham
- Position: EDGE
- College: Ohio
- Height: 6-4
- Weight: 266
- Season: 5th
- Games Studied: Jets vs. Cleveland, Patriots, Dolphins and Bills
Overview: Basham is a high-energy edge defender with intriguing pass rush skills and developmental potential. He isn't a finished product at this point, but his combination of effort, energy and toughness could make him a disruptive force in time. Through four NFL seasons, Basham has amassed 84 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception 58 games (12 starts).
As a run defender, Basham is active at the line of scrimmage utilizing his quickness and athleticism to shoot through gaps. He is at his best on the move and aggressive defensive coordinators unlock his playmaking ability by featuring him on slants, games and stunts. As a member of the Jets, Basham flashed a knack for producing negative plays (sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles) when put him on the move at the line of scrimmage. The constant activity and relentless effort creates problems for opponents ill-prepared to deal with a Tasmanian Devil on the edges.
As a pass rusher, Basham utilizes his speed, quickness and burst as his superpowers. He whips blockers on speed rushes with a dip-and-rip maneuver that enables him to turn the corner quickly. Although he is a bit of a "one-trick" pony, Basham's success on one-on-ones suggests he could be effective opposite an established No. 1 pass rusher. He isn't a lock to become a double-digit sack producer, but he could tally a handful of sacks (six to eight) as an energetic rusher with a non-stop motor.
From a critical standpoint, Basham might be better suited to play as a rotational player on an elite defense. Despite his flashes as a run stopper and pass rusher, he can disappear for long stretches in game action. Some of those issues might've been related to his former team (Jets) and their inability to secure a lead, but it is something that should be noted when projecting how he could impact the Cowboys as an edge defender. He might be most effective as a 30-35 snaps per game player with a defined role as a pass rush specialist.
Energy and effort
First-step quickness and burst as pass rusher/run defender
Disruptive potential (forced fumbles, sacks and tackles for loss)
Limited pass rush tool box
Is a full-time starter?
How does he fit in with the Cowboys?
It isn't a coincidence the Cowboys are bringing in a collection of high-energy defenders with Dan Quinn at the helm. Basham is an ideal cultural fit as a hard-working edge defender with a non-stop motor and explosive athletic traits. He plays like his hair is on fire from snap to whistle and his energetic playing style should make him the perfect complement to Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory on the edges. Moreover, Basham could carve out a role as a pass rush specialist that enables the Cowboys to utilize some unique sub-packages to create chaos and confusion at the line of scrimmage on passing downs. As a spot starter/situational player, Basham is an intriguing option to add to the roster.