As Buffalo Bills training camp approaches, we thought we'd try something fun here at Bills Central: Projecting the 30 most valuable Bills for 2021 with a profile of each one leading up to the eve of training camp in late July.
Checking in at No. 30 is ... rookie defensive end Carlos "Boogie" Basham.
Obviously this is a projection. There's no guarantee he even makes the four-man rotation at this deep position. But we're guessing he does and that he makes an impact.
As much as he could show during non-contact practices at OTAs and mandatory minicamp, the second-round draft pick appeared by all eyewitness accounts to have no problem bringing his extraordinary game with him from Wake Forest to Orchard Park.
He should help with more than just the pass rush too.
What's more, Basham and first-round pick Gregory Rousseau, another defensive end, have the ability to move inside on passing downs, giving the Bills the option to put four pure pass rushers on the field when they're reasonably sure of what's coming.
"Both of them produced inside," general manager Brandon Beane said. "We like what that gives [defensive coordinator] Leslie Frazier and [defensive line coach] Eric Washington so they can mix things up.”
At 6-3, 280, Basham is more than sturdy enough to handle the transition to the NFL right away. He may even be more ready to plug and play this coming season that Rousseau, who is considered to have a higher upside but opted out of 2020 at Miami due to the coronavirus pandemic, slowing his development.
Here are Basham's strengths, as listed by Wolf Sports in its scouting report:
Big and imposing on the edge. Inside/outside versatility. Relentless trying to get to his target. Very technical with hands and feet in sync. Hands are extremely active. Swipes away strikes from offensive linemen. Will twist and spin to get free. Physical taking on blocks. Tremendous power to push blockers back. Very forceful finisher. Great closing speed at his size. Outstanding acceleration when he begins to flatten to the quarterback. Has some dip around the edge. Quality inside move. Good first-step quickness. Impressive side-step quickness as a straight-line rusher. Able to get skinny between blockers. Very effective on stunts. Hustles to make plays downfield. Experience on both sides of the formation and in a variety of alignments (three-technique to wide-nine). Has “takeover” stretches and made impact plays.
Again, Basham will have to play his way into the rotation. But it will be extra interesting to watch him once the pads go on and real football starts to be practiced and played in August.