Sheldon Rankins anchored a dominant (at times) front line last season. The losses of Rankins and Pio Vatuvei left arguably the biggest question mark on the roster. Rankins was first on the defensive line in total tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. Vatuvei played his role well at defensive end and recorded 14 more tackles than the two starting ends on this year’s depth chart, Juniors Drew Bailey and Johnny Richardson. Perhaps the most unheralded but most proven player returning from last year is Deangelo Brown at defensive tackle. Brown finished 2nd on the defensive line in tackles and 8th on the team, all while playing behind first round draft pick, Sheldon Rankins.
With inexperience at the defensive ends, Deangelo Brown is going to have to anchor the defensive line. He may have some big shoes to fill but his solid performance last season and his work in the offseason has led to Brown receiving a lot of praise. While Drew Bailey and Johnny Richardson will start at the defensive ends, look for redshirt freshman G.G. Robinson to potentially make some noise. These positions may contain the least amount of experience on the roster, but the talent is there and with Brown in the middle, opposing offenses should have a hard time between the tackles. It starts in the trenches, and though there may be questions up front, I think we’ll like the answers.