The Baltimore Ravens were able to retain Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee this offseason but lost Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, and Jihad Ward in free agency. Their cupboard at edge rusher isn’t bare, but it needs some new blood in the form of an explosive and disruptive force.
This year’s draft class lacks a Chase Young or Nick Bosa but is loaded with a plethora of intriguing and diverse options for teams in need of perimeter pass rushers. One of those potential future stars is Wake Forest’s Carlos ‘Boogie’ Basham.
The former Demon Deacon is a powerful edge presence with the unique blend of size, strength, length, and athleticism to dominate in any front at the next level. He also plays with the physicality and intensity of a prototypical defender that the Ravens’ front office and coaching staff look for and covet.
Basham has all the traits of a player that could be moved all around the alignment and apply pressure from any gap and either edge in Defensive Coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale’s system.
Boogie busted onto the college scene with a breakout season in 2019 as a redshirt junior when he recorded 10 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, three passes defended, and three forced fumbles. In just six games last season, he registered five sacks and forced a career-high four fumbles.
At 6-foot-3 and 274 pounds, he fits the physical profile of some of the versatile outside linebackers that blossomed in the Ravens’ hybrid 3-4 scheme as situational pass rush specialists that can line up on the edge as well as inside in sub-packages on obvious passing downs.
Fan favorites such as McPhee, Paul Kruger, and most recently Zadarius Smith shined and made significant contributions on defense as part-time players before pricing themselves out of the Ravens range when their rookie contracts expired.
Most of them were late bloomers who didn’t have an uptick in production until year three or four. However, Basham has the potential and opportunity with the current lack of highly productive veterans on the roster to hit the ground rolling as a rookie and become an immediate difference-maker.
He has the bend and flexibility to quickly get around the edge, turn the corner, and blow up plays in opposing backfields on a consistent basis. His active and violent hands allow him to shed blocks and disengage from blockers to make a play on the ball or the ball carrier.
His pursuit and closing speed are ferocious which leads to several plays getting thwarted behind the line of scrimmage or keeps a play that would’ve gone for more yardage to a minimal gain.
Wake Forest edge rusher Carlos Basham (@Almighty_Basham) looked unstoppable at times on film. Gave every tackle fits, and he was constantly in the backfield. Also a very smart player, who really understands how to win on the field. A 1st round lock, who could go top 15. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/av0ZcATYLC— Jack Borowsky (@Jack_Borowsky) June 9, 2020
He also has a high football IQ that he uses to snuff out screens and know when to get his hands into passing lanes when he doesn’t have enough time to get home for the sack on shorter dropbacks.
Another shining example of his football intelligence shows up when he pressures the opposing quarterbacks. Instead of just trying to deliver a crushing blow, he attacks the ball in an attempt to force a turnover.
I feel like Carlos "Boogie" Basham gets forgotten about a bit with the emergence of so many EDGE rushers this year— Tom Barnett (@tbarnett91) February 9, 2021
+ Great football IQ
+ Fantastic power and size
Had a TFL in 23 straight games
Should bring good value as a player with a high floor on day 2pic.twitter.com/7ELTcZhNw8
Basham attended the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl and dominated rushing from inside and on the edge in both individual and full team drills. The rep displayed below was one of his most impressive from a technical standpoint and it came against Grambling State guard David Moore who was voted Offensive Lineman of the Week.
He doesn’t have a fast get-off or first step quickness but possesses a variety of pass rush moves and can play out of a two or three-point stance.
Unlike McPhee and Smith who fell to day three before proving to be mid-late round steals in the long run, the Ravens will have to spend a much higher pick to acquire Basham’s services.
Since pass rushers are among the most coveted positions and schematic hybrids are even rarer, he’ll likely come off the board somewhere between the bottom of the first round and long before Baltimore picks in the second.
That means that if General Manager Eric DeCosta passes on Boogie on day one, and he makes it to day two, trading up in the second would likely be required to have a chance at realistically landing him.