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Position Preview: Defensive Line


Probable Depth Chart:

Left Defensive End Nose Tackle Right Defensive End
66 Taylor Hart Sr. 92 Wade Keliikipi Sr. 44 DeForest Buckner So.
56 Alex Balducci So. 90 Ricky Havili-Heimuli Sr. 9 Arik Armstead So.
97 Jared Ebert Sr. 84 Stetzon Bair RSo. 99 Sam Kamp RSo.
45 T.J. Daniel So. 50 Ryan Hagen Sr. 98 David Kafovalu Jr.

Returning Experience:

This is a difficult depth chart to put together for a couple of reasons. First of all, there are 8 guys with returning experience on the defensive line. For a defensive line that primarily plays with 3 down linemen, that is a loaded group to work with. Secondly, the combination of the linemen present different match ups depending on down and distance. A short yardage situation could see Hart, Keliikipi, Havili-Heimuli and Armstead (that's 292, 295, 305, and 280 pounds if you're scoring at home). Oregon will most likely use their "hockey sub" rotations like in years past, but special situations will call for different guys. So while picking who's first, second or third string may be difficult, finding talent to put in on a regular basis will not. Finally, it will be interesting to see how certain guys progress throughout the year. Taylor Hart, in my opinion, will be the most underrated defensive player on the team all year. Guys like Ifo, T-Mitch, Washington and Lokombo will make big plays, but Hart came on last year as a solid pass rusher and a difficult one-on-one match up for any offensive linemen. DeForest Buckner is unblockable and is going to cause offenses nightmares all season long. Armstead is a special talent, but at times last year seemed like a one trick bull-rush pony. If he adds a couple of spin moves and stunts to his arsenal, 6'8" 280 coming off the edge is going to give offensive backfields some soiled shorts. Some will debate (and be wrong) that there were better first string defensive lines in Oregon's history, but there is no debate that this is the deepest and most talented defensive line on the first and second string Oregon has ever had.

New Faces:

Not really new faces, but considering Oregon plays a lot of guys on the line, it will be interesting to see how Sam Kamp, Alex Balducci and Jared Ebert progress this year. They'll probably get a lot of reps early in the season which will go a long way when guys graduate next year. Also, JC transfer Stetzon Bair will have some pretty big brother shoes to fill as he tries to work himself into the rotation.


If there was ever a year to have question marks at the linebacker position, this is the year. Whatever 3 line up in front of them will open holes, get in the backfield, and create opportunities for the linebackers to make plays. The defensive line in a 3-4 hybrid is usually a thankless position. Your asked to take on double teams, stunt into waiting guards and tackles and use 2-gap technique to make sure draw plays don't burn the guys behind you. Fortunately for the Ducks have a loaded group of hardworking humble hitters ready to do just that. That is going to make the job of the 8 guys behind them so much easier.

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Oregon Ducks Depth Chart