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2019 Oregon Ducks Spring Preview: Defensive Line

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Can the Ducks replace two standout linemen that left to pursue their NFL dreams?

NCAA Football: Oregon at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks have begun spring practice with the Spring Game coming on April 20th. How will the Ducks shake out on the depth chart during spring camp? Will there be any impact freshmen looking to take jobs from the upperclassmen? In this post, we’ll take a look at a group of defensive linemen that has to replace a key starter or two.

2018 Depth Chart

Defensive End

1. Jalen Jelks Senior

2. Gus Cumberlander Junior

3. Gary Baker Junior

4. Bryson Young Junior

Nose Tackle

1. Jordon Scott Sophomore

2. Sione Kava Junior

3. Popo Aumavae Redshirt Freshman

4. Miguel Nevarez Freshman

Defensive End

1. Austin Faoliu Sophomore

2. Drayton Carlberg Junior

3. Andrew Faoliu Freshman

4. DJ Wong Senior

What happened during the season?

  • The sack leader in the DL group isn’t who you think it is. It was actually Gus Cumberlander with four. Jelks just trailed behind him 3.5 sacks. Sacks were largely a group effort with five linemen contributing at least one.
  • Jelks was the fifth leading tackler on the team but led the defensive linemen in that category.
  • The group had a mediocre season overall but there were several standouts, among them Cumberlander and Drayton Carlberg, who filled in as depth pieces.
  • Much was expected of Jelks final collegiate year entering the 2018 season but he failed to deliver on that promise for one reason or another.
  • Nearly everyone who got playing time saw significant reps so that helps in their development.
  • Jordon Scott was the man in the middle as usual but he did pick up little nicks and bruises on occasion that forced him to miss entire series. Sione Kava picked up a majority of those reps.

2019 Depth Chart (Spring)

Defensive End

1. Austin Faoliu Junior

2. Drayton Carlberg Senior

3. Kayvon Thibodeaux (freshman early enrollee)

4. Andrew Faoliu Redshirt Freshman

Nose Tackle

1. Jordon Scott Junior

2. Sione Kava Senior

3. Popo Aumavae Sophomore

4. Miguel Nevarez Redshirt Freshman

Defensive End

1. DJ Johnson Sophomore

2. Gus Cumberlander Senior

3. Gary Baker Senior

4. Bryson Young Senior

What happened during the offseason and what can we expect?

  • Jalen Jelks ran out of college eligibility and took part in both the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine.
  • Everyone else minus Jelks returns to the program for another year to develop under a new defensive coordinator.
  • The top signee ever in Oregon history, Kayvon Thibodeaux is an early enrollee and will participate in spring practices as a result.
  • Oregon also signed four other defensive line recruits but they did not early enroll.
  • D.J. Johnson is in the Jelks role of moving around from outside linebacker and defensive end thus he’s listed here as a defensive end.
  • Fat Mac returns as a highly thought of nose tackle draft prospect.
  • I expect Thibodeaux to challenge for early playing time due to his prodigious talent as a former five star recruit.
  • It will be interesting to see if the new DC Andy Avalos deploys a four man front or a three man front like his predecessor had. The Ducks definitely have the personnel for a three man front but not quite a four man front as the four requires a whole new S&C program / recruiting style.

Post Spring Depth Chart Prediction

Defensive End

1. Austin Faoliu Junior

2. Kayvon Thibodeaux

3. Drayton Carlberg

4. Andrew Faoliu

5. Brandon Dorlus (redshirt)

Nose Tackle

1. Jordon Scott

2. Sione Kava

3. Popo Aumavae

4. Keyon Ware-Hudson (redshirt after playing time)

5. Miguel Nevarez

6. Kristian Williams (redshirt)

Defensive End

1. DJ Johnson

2. Gus Cumberlander

3. Gary Baker

4. Bryson Young

5. Sua’ava Poti (redshirt)