“With the 61st pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select… Carlos Basham, Defensive End, Wake Forest.”
Now that I got your attention, you are probably thinking, why would the Buffalo Bills select back-to-back edge rushers? I have to think that Brandon Beane must be a big fan of Drake and was listening to his song “Back to Back” during the second round. I must say Beane and I might have a common love for Drake, but we also both probably noticed that there was an issue with the Bills defense. That something had to change without spending top dollars on a position like Edge Rusher, which can be very expensive.
Ever since the playoffs, I have been everywhere on every social media platform, including our very own BF chats, telling people that to be the best, you have to beat the best. I told everyone that, without a better Defensive Line, we were not going to make it. Especially with the production (or lack thereof) from the Edge Rusher position. Of course, the Bills did not take my preferred choices, but to take two guys in that position back to back is simply trying to fill a gap at a cheaper price. And I am all for it. I am running my victory laps because, for months, I felt like I was the only one on this wagon. But I guess Beane and the Bills management were on that wagon too.
We already have a great offense, the potential increase on that end would be very minimal. (From top-three to top-two?) The drastic increase is going to happen on the defense side.
Look, people might not like the back-to-back, but we could not get to the quarterback. In my opinion, the weakest part of the defense is the Defensive Line and Beane went exactly there and brought in some young blood.
I saw a stat line provided by our BF family member John Demarchi that tells why it was important for the Bills to get good edges. Last year we had a 13.5% sack rate off the edge, which was dead last in the league. If we want to win a Super Bowl, or even get to one, we need that number to improve. And that is why those two back-to-back picks are so important.
Everyone wanted to draft a Cornerback and they still might (on day three of the draft), but you can get a great veteran for a good price. I believe they like having a vet in the Cornerback group. Like I said before, to get those kinds of guys on the edge costs too much money. Something they can’t afford for an already expensive Defensive Line.
There was one glaring problem with the Bills during this past playoff run, we just couldn’t get to the quarterback. That issue almost cost us a playoff win against the Indianapolis Colts. We all know old man Philip Rivers couldn’t run, but the man had way too much time to throw the ball. The defensive line could not get to Rivers all game. If it was not for one bad throw in the end zone, we would’ve exited in the first round again.
The games against Baltimore and Kansas City showed us the same issues. Our defensive line, especially the Edge position, could not get to the quarterbacks. I do not even remember Mahomes getting touched once by any of our linemen in the AFC Championship game.
If the Super Bowl taught us anything it was that, to beat an amazing offense, your Defensive Line has to attack the Quarterback and force him to make decisions a lot faster than they want to. That Tampa Bay defense made life difficult for Patrick Mahomes all game. That Super Bowl was won by the Defensive Line, who didn’t give Mahomes enough time to do his thing.
Seeing all of this, Brandon Beane pulled up his pants and went to work in this year’s draft, revamping the DL with “Back to Back” Edge Rushers. In the first round, the Bills took Miami giant Gregory Rousseau. He is a big 6’7″, 266 lbs who has crazy reach and an amazing wingspan. His first step is a little weak, but this guy has the potential to be a superstar. He has great hand moves and can compete with heavier guys and just beef man, using brute force. He can play the edge or the inside. The man has great vision and instincts. He just looks like a monster ready to destroy anyone that comes his way. I have heard people compare him to Montez Sweat. If he is anything close to Sweat, I am all in.
If that is not enough, Big Baller Beane lived up to his name and picked up Wake Forest pass rusher Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr. This guy is a powerhouse who bullies through the opposing Offensive Line. He will honestly try to bowl over you to get to the Quarterback. He is another person who has edge-inside flexibility and succeeds in getting to the Quarterback. Basham again has good hands and great instincts. I have seen him compared to Cam Jordan and again, if he’s 80% of Cam Jordan, I am in. For me, I see him as a cheaper Matt Judon in the making. Plus, why wouldn’t you love a guy who has a registered license plate on his car saying “QB Hunter”. As an added bonus, both of these guys will improve your run defense.
I heard a stat that no rookie DE picked in the last couple drafts had more than six sacks. Look, we don’t have a DE right now that can get six sacks in a season. Plus, Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes are not getting younger. We have one of the most expensive Defensive Lines in the NFL, yet get little production out of them.
We have to build to be competitive for the long-term, not just now. As teams like the Chiefs keep building their Offensive Line, it’s going to get harder for us to get to players like Mahomes. However, these two guys and Epenesa have the potential to become an effective pass rush for years to come. Big Baller Beane lived up to his name and in his process we trust.
I’m ready, ARE YOU? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will continue my victory lap!