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Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham going to Bills

By JOHN WAWROW

AP Sports Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills doubled down on edge rushers by selecting Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham with the 61st pick in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night.

Basham’s selection comes a day after Buffalo opened the draft by selecting University of Miami defensive end Greg Rousseau with the 30th overall pick.

Basham is listed at 6-foot-3 and 274 pounds and earned his “Boogie” nickname for his love of dancing growing up. Basham is coming off a senior season in which he led the Demon Deacons with five sacks in just six games, while missing time recovering from COVID-19.

His best season came in 2019, when he had 11 sacks and forced three fumbles in earning first-team ACC honors.

The selection was announced by Bills’ Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure. Barring trades, the Bills’ next selection is in the third round, 93rd overall.

General manager Brandon Beane wasn’t kidding when making upgrading his pass rush a priority.
Basham and Rousseau were selected a year after Buffalo made Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa their top choice by picking him in the second round of the draft last year.

Adding young depth to the defense is critical with returning starters Jerry Hughes and Marko Addison both in their 30s and completing the final year of their contracts. Buffalo is projected to have little wiggle room under the salary cap entering next offseason, especially with quarterback Josh Allen projected to command a high-price salary once his rookie contract expires within the next two years.

The focus on defense comes after the Bills spent the past three seasons focusing heavily on retooling a Josh Allen-led offense which delivered in playing a key role in Buffalo clinching its first AFC East title since 1995 and making its deepest playoff run in 27 years. The Bills season ended with a 38-24 loss to Kansas City in the conference championship game.

The defense’s flaws were exposed against the run and pass in losing twice to the Chiefs, including a 26-17 loss in mid-October.

The Bills face a deadline on Monday to determine whether to pick up the fifth-year option on both Allen and middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds’ contracts to secure them through the end of the 2022 season. General manager Brandon Beane said he’ll wait until after the draft to make that decision, and raised concern as to whether the Bills can afford to do so for both 2018 first-round draft picks.

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