Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE – Wake Forest
Whilst it’s unknown if the Lions will have an odd or even-man front in their base defense next year, there’s a good chance they’re moving from a two-gapping defensive lineman to a more penetrating one-gap scheme.
Whilst I prefer this aggressive style of defense, the roster is not full of one-gappers upfront and the Lions need a significant retooling across the line. Luckily, there are a number of potential options to scout this week. And the best prospect is likely Carlos Basham Jr. from Wake Forest.
Basham Jr. isn’t the twitchiest but has a nicely rounded game. He weighed in at 6-foot-3 and 281 pounds and fits predominantly as a 4-3 defensive end. He also has the build to slide inside on passing downs and push the pocket up the middle, but he rarely lined up inside tackle.
In 2020, Basham Jr. only played six games and accumulated 5.0 sacks and 4.5 tackles-for-loss. In a full 13 game season in 2019, he had 11.0 sacks and was disruptive across the ACC. He showed a variety of different pash-rushing moves but he was particularly effective using his swim move.
If Basham Jr. does slide inside on passing downs, that could be particularly dangerous vs interior offensive lineman.
Basham Jr. can also control blockers, locking his arms out and then shedding with ease. He showed this particularly well vs Clemson when he then showed an explosiveness burst to sack Trevor Lawrence for a 12-yard loss.
Whilst his numbers were still good in 2020, he didn’t take the next step many hoped and I wonder if cutting weight a little would help him. It will be interesting to see if his future team thinks the same and his movement will be a key element to watch in practice this week.
Basham Jr. would have some positional flexibility regardless of which scheme the Lions ran too. He could play defensive end in a four-man front or five-technique (5T) in a three front. He doesn’t quite have the power of Cameron Jordan coming out of Cal, but that’s the kind of ceiling I could see at the next level.
From a Lions’ standpoint, Basham Jr. also could be a draft-and-develop replacement for Trey Flowers who may not last with the team long-term as the team moves away from the Patriots’ defensive system.