Carlos Basham Jr. - EDGE, Wake Forest
By the numbers:
6'3", 281 pounds. 32-1/2" arms per Senior Bowl measurements.
2020: 28 tackles (4.5 for loss), five sacks, four forced fumbles in six games played.
2019: 57 tackles (18 for loss), 10 sacks, three forced fumbles in 13 games played.
Carlos Basham Jr. has a good blend of length and size that allows him to hold his own against the run and be hard to move overall. He sets a good edge and is a quality run defender, which is something many collegiate defensive ends overlook. He's a bit heavy for a traditional end, and that allows him to be kicked inside on obvious passing downs. This versatility may come in handy at the next level.
Basham is a fundamentally sound player with a high football IQ. There isn't anything flashy about his game, as he understands gap control and gets solid leverage at the point of attack. He isn't overpowering, instead choosing to rely on his pass-rush moves (club, rip, inside swim and the occasional spin) to produce. He was one of the best players in college two years ago and boasts a relatively high floor.
While Basham was able to win consistently with power at Wake Forest, that won't always be the case in the NFL. Professional linemen are bigger, stronger and smarter. He needs to learn how to use the moves he possesses — and in succession — if he wants to outwork them. Maintaining a low pad level will also be paramount to his success. Basham's best football may have come as a college junior, and that's a legitimate concern.
In terms of athletic ability, Basham is nothing out of the ordinary. His speed, bend and burst are merely decent. His athletic profile plays better on the inside, as all of those traits stand out more against linemen who are used to facing 300-plus pound defensive tackles. With that said, Basham's strength then becomes below-average and he has to win with finesse. He's relying on a lot to go right in order to reach his full potential.
How Basham fits with the Chiefs:
If the Chiefs are looking for a bulkier EDGE prospect capable of playing good run defense and flashing some potential as a pass-rusher, Basham makes sense. He could kick inside as a 3-tech on third and fourth down if deemed necessary. Plus the opportunity is there for him to receive immediate playing time. A full-time complement to Frank Clark is needed, and several players are set to depart via free agency. Basham fits well in a 4-3 scheme, similar to that of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Basham's path to becoming a star in the NFL is murky. His solid athletic profile isn't enough to overcome strength that isn't yet elite. There's a possibility that he becomes a consistent pass-rushing threat in the NFL, but the risk with drafting him early is that he never puts everything together. He still offers good value, but not in the top 50 like he's been projected by many. Basham grades out as an early third-round pick who the Chiefs would be fine to consider taking at the end of round two if he's available.