2014 Pac-12 Positional Rankings: Defensive Linemen: Leonard Williams could be nation's best defensive lineman

Stephen Dunn

Williams is far and away the most-talented defensive lineman in the Pac-12.

1. Leonard Williams Jr. USC

Williams has the potential to be the best overall player in the conference and the number one pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. A combo lineman who is a bit like if two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the year Will Sutton had ideal size, Williams is the rare kind of defensive line who has the strength and versatility to shut down opponents' running games while also being able to get after quarterbacks.

2. Henry Anderson Sr. Stanford

Yet another 6'6 monster on the Stanford defense, Anderson battled injuries in 2013 but still excelled along the defensive line at an intimidating 295 pounds. He should come into 2014 and if he is, he is a big time player in big games, saving his best performances in 2013 for Oregon, Notre Dame, the Pac-12 Championship Game and the Rose Bowl.

3. Hau'oli Kikaha Sr. Washington

Kikaha basically missed two entire seasons with knee injuries, but came back healthy in 2013 and finished with 13 sacks, including five in the Huskies' final two games. He has the full package as a defensive with good size and strength, quickness off the snap and a motor which will likely lead to him leading the conference in sacks in 2014.

4. Danny Shelton Sr. Washington

Shelton has been holding down the middle of the Washington defense for a while now and does an excellent job of it as a 6'2 330 hole-plugger. He is excellent against the run and has the kind of nasty that makes opposing offensive lines hate to face him, the best nose guard style player in the conference this year.

5. David Parry Sr. Stanford

Similar to Shelton, Parry is a nasty nose guard that shuts down an opponents' run game. He isn't massive or a physical freak, but he might have the best motor of any defensive lineman in the conference and holds the fort down up front for the vaunted Cardinal defense.

6. Ellis McCarthy Jr. UCLA

McCarthy has the most tools of any defensive lineman in the conference other than Williams as a 6'5 330 with solid athleticism. He has All-American potential that he started to fill in 2013 and I expect him to become an outright force in 2014.

7. Eddie Vanderdoes So. UCLA

Vanderoes is a former five-star recruit that has everything you want in a defensive tackle and is superstar in the making. It is rare to find the kind of player with his athleticism and size that is equally strong against the run and the pass with his rushing skills.

8. Tony Washington Sr. Oregon

Washington is a hybrid DE/OLB that doesn't have great size but can get after the quarterback and led the Ducks in sacks in 2013. He is a danger off the edge and looks to be the next great rusher at defensive end for the Ducks.

9. Jaxon Hood Jr. Arizona State

The only returning starter for the Sun Devils, Hood is similar to Will Sutton in that he is short, but quick on the line and play anywhere along the line. He will move into a larger role in 2014 and has the skills to keep the Sun Devil defensive line ferocious.

10. Blake Leuders Sr. Stanford

Another experienced monster on Stanford's defense, Leuders was a key reserve last season for Stanford and now will play a larger role as a 6'5 260 intimidator. He is the typical Stanford defensive end as he has great size and strength, but can also get after the quarterback.

11. Xavier Cooper Jr. Washington State

A versatile linemen that can really move for his size and stop plays in the backfield, Cooper is the best player on the Cougar defense this year. A lot of the conference might not know who he is yet, but he has been holding it down for the Cougars up front the past two seasons.

12. Nate Orchard Sr. Utah

An underrated presence, Orchard was overshadowed by Star Lotulelei and Trevor Reilly the past two seasons, but he has been doing nothing but producing. He was huge last year in Utah's upset of Stanford and expect him to be even better in 2014.

On the edge

Owamagbe Odighizuwa Sr. UCLA

Kenny Clark So. UCLA

Antwaun Woods Jr. USC

Arik Armstead Jr. Oregon

Destiny Vaeao Jr. Washington State

Marcus Hardison Sr. Arizona State

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