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2019 Oregon Ducks Spring Preview: Defensive Backs

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The Ducks have some defensive backs issues to resolve. Can they?

NCAA Football: Redbox Bowl-Michigan State vs Oregon Stan Szeto-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? Today, we’ll be taking a look at the defensive backs who were not very consistent.

2018 Depth Chart

Cornerback

1. Thomas Graham, Jr 5’11 191 Sophomore

2. Verone McKinley III 5’10 183 Freshman

3. Charles Sudduth 5’10 167 Junior

4. Damon Hickok 6’1 192 Freshman

5. Dexter Myers 6’0 190 Sophomore

Safety

1. Ugo Amadi 5’10 201 Senior

2. Jevon Holland 6’1 192 Freshman

3. Billy Gibson 6’1 172 Sophomore

4. Lucas Noland 5’11 192 Freshman

5. Elijah Jones 6’0 195 Senior

Safety

1. Nick Pickett 6’1 200 Sophomore

2. Brady Breeze 6’0 195 Sophomore

3. Martell McGraw 5’10 196 Senior

4. Steve Stephens 6’0 187 Freshman

5. Sean Kilpatrick 5’11 196 Junior

Cornerback

1. Deommodore Lenior 5’11 196 Sophomore

2. Kahlef Hailassie 6’2 188 Freshman

3. Haki Woods 6’3 201 Senior

4. Jordan Adeyemi-John 6’1 210 Freshman

5. Tyler Reid 5’8 170 Senior

What happened during the past season?

  • True freshman safety Jevon Holland led the team in interceptions with five as he earned increasing playing time later in the year.
  • S Nick Pickett led all DBs and was fourth on the team overall in tackles with 59 tackles.
  • The starters at cornerback, Graham and Lenoir each had three interceptions to go with 18 and 9 passes defended, respectively. Graham posted 56 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss while Lenoir had 52 tackles.
  • The defensive backs as a whole were very inconsistent to start the year, repeatedly getting burned and/or missing tackles in space. The safeties in particular had a rough go of it minus Ugo Amadi.
  • The corners weren’t abjectly terrible but with a safety group dragging them down, it was a lot of work for them to do. They improved a ton over the course of the season after some sophomore slumps to start off.
  • Each position had the depth receive some big time reps so they aren’t completely inexperienced.

2019 Depth Chart (Spring)

Cornerback

1. Thomas Graham, Jr Junior

2. Verone McKinley III Redshirt Freshman

3. Charles Sudduth Senior

4. Damon Hickok Redshirt Freshman

5. Dexter Myers Junior

Safety

1. Jevon Holland Sophomore

2. Khalef Hailassie Sophomore

3. Billy Gibson Junior

4. Lucas Noland Redshirt Freshman

Safety

1. Nick Pickett Junior

2. Brady Breeze Junior

3. Steve Stephens Redshirt Freshman

4. Sean Kilpatrick Senior

Cornerback

1. Deommodore Lenoir Junior

2. Haki Woods Senior

3. JAJ Redshirt Freshman

4. Daewood Davis Sophomore

What happened during the offseason and what can we expect?

  • The Ducks saw four senior DBs leave the program via graduation. Of those four, only Ugo Amadi has an NFL future. He’s currently projected a midround pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
  • Both Lenoir and Graham return as battle tested juniors who could in theory leave for the NFL after the 2019 season.
  • Highly touted sophomore VM3 and senior Haki Woods return to back the aforementioned starters up in certain packages.
  • After an impressive freshman season leading the team in interceptions, Jevon Holland is the unquestioned starter at safety, taking over for the departed Amadi.
  • The other safety starter is a collective effort between Breeze, Pickett, and Stephens. None of these options were palatable and downright poor last season. Let’s hope they find a magic improvement cure and quickly.
  • The safety play was so impressively bad that Khalef Hailassie converted into that position from cornerback to improve the play. I have a feeling that he will float between the two positions as the season draws closer.
  • Daewood Davis switched to cornerback from receiver after not making much headway as a wide receiver.
  • The Ducks signed two corners and two safeties in the 2019 cycle, none of which were early enrollees.

Post Spring Depth Chart Prediction

Cornerback

1. Graham

2. VM3

3. Sudduth

4. Hickok

5. Myers

6. Mykael Wright (redshirt)

Safety

1. Holland

2. Hailassie

3. Gibson

4. Jamal Hill (redshirt)

5. Noland

Safety

1. Pickett

2. Breeze

3. Stephens

4. Trikweze Bridges (redshirt)

5. Kilpatrick

Cornerback

1. Lenoir

2. Haki Woods

3. JAJ

4. DJ James (redshirt)

5. Daewood Davis

Previous reports

Quarterback

Running Back

Wide Receiver

Tight End

Offensive Line

Defensive Line

Linebackers

Note: It has come to my attention via a reader that won’t be named due to private correspondence, that I made an error in one of my past articles and I would like to correct the situation. The error is that I stated that former Ducks offensive lineman Jacob Capra transferred due to being beat out by Dallas Warmack when in fact, Capra left via the graduate transfer route. As such, he should be honored for graduating from Oregon while earning Pac-12 All-Academic team awards.