The Indianapolis Colts will have their entire 2017 draft class present at OTA’s and training camp, as the team announced the signing of third-round pick Tarell Basham on Friday.
The outside linebacker from the University of Ohio is the final player selected in April’s draft by the Colts to sign his rookie contract. In 14 games last season, Basham recorded 9.0 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and 1 forced fumble on way to being named MAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Basham (6-4, 262 pounds) addresses a dire need for the Colts. Since 2013, they have lacked a consistent pass rusher. Erik Walden provided serviceable contribution during his time in Indianapolis, but it was never quite enough to lift a defense that struggled mightily at times. Like the other seven 2017 draft picks, Basham comes to the NFL with the chance to contribute right away, something he is already aware of.
“It’s a big opportunity out there for me, and I hope I take the best of it,” said Basham speaking with Colts.com. I hope I’m able to come into this program and make some plays and impact that defense.”
Along with the opportunity to have an impact early into his NFL career, Basham will continue to develop his craft under the careful supervision of one of the greats who was once in his same position. After retiring in 2016, Robert Mathis has become a fixture around the Colts’ facility, providing insight anywhere that is needed.
“I’ve been watching him for a long time, he’s a legend,” said Basham. “To be able to sit and learn from him every day is really a blessing. Not every rookie gets that opportunity to learn from somebody who’s a legend at their position.
The circumstances could not have turned out better for Basham. With every opportunity for him to succeed available, general manager Chris Ballard may have finally found the Colts’ next great pass rusher.
Jeff Tibbins covers the Indianapolis Colts for Pro Football Spot. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jeff_tibbins.