The Buffalo Bills left their second-round pick inactive for the second straight week, raising questions about the pick and a potential logjam at the defensive line.
Edge rusher Boogie Basham, taken with the 61st overall pick in the NFL Draft, has been left off the gameday roster in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers and again on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. The decision has raised some questions and worry that the high investment may not be paying off.
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Basham Out Again
The Bills left Basham inactive along with fellow defensive linemen Efe Obada and Harrison Phillips. Buffalo had invested a lot in their defensive line in the offseason, taking Basham in the second round and Gregory Rousseau in the first round, leaving the Bills deep at the position.
After Basham was left inactive in Week 1, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said it was difficult to decide who would be playing on game day, especially after running back Zack Moss was inactive in the season opener.
“It’s tough, it’s always tough. Those are two good football players,” McDermott said, via USA Today’s Bills Wire. “We’ll see where it goes this week. Two young players that continue to develop for us.”
It wasn’t a complete surprise that the second-round pick didn’t take the field against the Dolphins. Earlier in the week, The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia predicted that Basham could be a healthy scratch again in order to find room for Moss, who was active and scored a pair of rushing touchdowns against Miami on Sunday.
“Making [Efe] Obada, Boogie Basham and a defensive tackle inactive would still leave the Bills with a standard eight defensive linemen for the game,” he wrote. “Getting the offense back on track should be more of a priority than having a ninth rotational defensive lineman getting only 15-20 snaps.”
The Bills didn’t seem to miss Basham in Sunday’s 35-0 win over the Dolphins. The Bills had a total of 11 quarterback hits, knocking Tagovailoa out of the game and consistently pressuring backup Jacoby Brissett in the dominant defensive performance.
Basham a Long-Term Project
With such a deep rotation at defensive line, some believe that Basham will be more of a long-term project while the Bills keep the more impactful players on the field. Jon Scott of Spectrum News Buffalo noted that the team also has a number of veterans at the position, which has contributed to keeping Basham off the field.
“I will say that while the #Bills obviously would love immediate returns on Basham, it’s more about long-term. Hughes, Addison, and Obada FAs after this season,” Scott tweeted.
There could still be room for Basham to play a significant role for the Bills. As Buscaglia noted in his post-draft analysis of the edge rusher, Basham’s versatility gives him the chance to see the field in a number of different situations.
“In college, Basham exhibited the ability to play three of the four traditional positions of the Bills’ defensive scheme,” Buscaglia wrote. “He can play both sides at defensive end and play three-technique defensive tackle given what the Bills ask of that position. On pass-rushing downs, he’s also the most well-equipped “defensive end” to work next to Ed Oliver at defensive tackle. His strength and quickness are a big reason for a potential long-term hybrid role.”