G.G. Robinson was the anchor of the 2019 defensive line. It’s now 2020 and G.G. is gone – so it’s next man up. That man is Jared Goldwire. Jared is the only person on the D line that I feel comfortable saying he is going to be a starter. Defensive coordinator, Bryan Brown, said in an interview , “I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face, man, Jared Goldwire was a different human being these seven practices of spring.” Brown was referring to the seven practices the Cards were able to get in before the Covid-19 shut everything down. He also said of Goldwire, “I think now he understands, ‘Hey, I’m in that starting role right now by default, I need to do everything in my power to make sure I don’t give this spot up, and I know this is my last year to try and achieve the goals I want to achieve.”
While the Nose tackle position is solidified with Goldwire, both end spots will be a battle. We probably won’t know who will start until they run out onto the field against NC State.
At one end position, I feel pretty comfortable saying that Tabarius Peterson has the edge going into fall camp but he will have to work to keep that starting spot. Peterson started all 13 games in 2019 but recorded only 24 tackles after 49 in 2018. He will have to step up his game with the additions of JUCO transfer, Yaya Diaby and true freshman, Ja’Darien Boykin. Both have starting potential and even if they don’t start, they will both see plenty of action.
At the other end, Dayna Kinnaird has the advantage because of his experience. Dayna was a walk-on in 2017 and was awarded scholarship in spring of 2019. But just like Peterson, Dayna is going to be pushed for that spot by Diaby and/or Boykin.
Diaby is a guy with a very high motor and is 6-foot-4, 255-pounds. According to 247sports, Diaby was the No. 20 junior college player in the Class of 2020 and ranks as the No. 3 strong-side defensive end in JUCO ranks. He’s the No. 2 JUCO player in Georgia behind teammate Trevor Reid (OL), who also signed with the Cardinals.
Ja’Darien Boykin, 6-foot-2, 240-pounds, was the highest-rated prospect in the Class of 2019. The former four-star weak-side defensive end did not qualify academically in 2019 but chose to stick with the Cards. He is a true pass rushing specialist and don’t be shocked if he leads the Cards in sacks even if he doesn’t start.
It’s going to be fun watching the position battles on the defensive line. No matter who starts, it’s great to see some much needed talented depth.