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Defensive Line: 2018 Spring Recap + Fall Preview

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NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

How will the Ducks retool their standout defensive line without a key starter? Can they build some depth behind the talented starters? Will there be any attrition or will it be the status quo? Can DC Jim Leavitt get even more production out of a resurgent defensive line room?

Pre Spring Depth Chart

DE

1. Jalen Jelks 6’6 245 RS Senior

2. Austin Faoliu 6’3 289 Sophomore

3. Gary Baker 6’3 325 RS Sophomore

4. Drayton Carlberg 6’5 289 RS Junior

5. Gus Cumberlander 6’7 246 RS Junior

DT

1. Jordon Scott 6’1 333 Sophomore

2. Popo Aumavae 6’3 311 RS Freshman

Analysis

- The 2017 season for the Ducks’ defensive line was one of redemption as the unit made massive improvements over the disappointing 2016 campaign.

- The defensive line posted 14.5 sacks of the 33 total credited to the entire defense. Of that 14.5, five must be replaced with the graduation of Henry Mondeaux.

- Jalen Jelks was the breakout star in 2017, posting 59 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and a team leading 6.5 sacks. He was named to the second team all conference for his efforts.

- For the large part, Oregon’s DL held its own for the sum of the 2017 season but had some issues stopping Stanford’s Bryce Love and the Huskies’ running attack. I liked what I saw from the unit as a whole.

- Jordon Scott was a revelation as a true freshman. He was strong enough to hold up as a nose tackle in the point of attack and even posted two sacks. He was selected for the Freshman All-American team.

- Oregon’s other freshman sensation, Austin Faoliu had a nifty first year spotting behind Mondeaux and is first in line to be his heir apparent.

Post Spring Depth Chart

DE

1. Jalen Jelks

2. Austin Faoliu

3. Malik Young / Gary Baker

4. Gus Cumberlander

5. Drayton Carlberg

DT

1. Jordon Scott

2. Popo Aumavae

3. Sione Vea Kava

Redshirt Candidate

1. Andrew Faoliu

Analysis

- Jelks, Faoliu, and Scott are the unquestioned starters in a three man front heading into fall camp. Hopefully the spring and summer are being spent trying to find decent rotational depth.

- Malik Young is still listed on the roster as of now but he cannot participate in team activities due to NCAA rules regarding his waiver eligibility. For now, he is listed a tentative third on the depth chart until a decision is made.

- Reports out of spring practices are that Baker made some impressive strides as a backup.

- It really is imperative for Jim Leavitt and co to find some depth pieces from essentially a nondescript cadre of backups. Otherwise, it will be tough for the starters to provide any sort of defense all game long.

- Depending on how the backup situation develops, I can see that Andrew Faoliu could redshirt.

- Not redshirting is SVK as he’s essential to the tackle position as Aumavae is coming off a redshirt season recovering from injury. Not to mention that he’s on a limited eligibility clock as a JUCO transfer.

- Jelks needs a monstrous season (think Butkus Trophy winning type of year) in order to get drafted higher than his initial projections due to the insane depth of the DL class in the 2019 NFL Draft. Right now, I have him graded out as a third or fourth round pick.