2013 Pac-12 Preseason Positional Unit Rankings: Defensive Backs

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon has the best defensive backfield in the Pac-12, but Stanford isn't far behind.

1. Oregon (CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Terrance Mitchell, S Avery Patterson, S Brian Jackson)

The Ducks' offense might get all of the attention, but they have one of the best secondaries in the nation going into 2013. Ekpre-Olomu is a turnover creating and sure tackling All-American candidate and Mitchell is an excellent cover corner. Patterson and Jackson form the best safety tandem in the conference after Stanford.

2. Stanford (S Ed Reynolds, S Jordan Richards, CB Alex Carter, CB Wayne Lyons)

Reynolds and Richards are big, interception machines that are one of the best safety tandems in the country. Carter and Lyons are super athletic corners that could have breakout seasons in 2013. Stanford's front seven might be the heart of their defense, but the back four are also very, very talented and skilled.

3. Arizona State (S Alden Darby, CB Osahon Irabor, CB Robert Nelson, S Ezekiel Bishop)

Big drop off here from two to three, but Darby and Irabor are both All-Pac-12 guys and the Sun Devils statistically had one of the best pass defenses in the nation in 2012.

4. Arizona (S Jared Tevis, S Tra'Mayne Bondurant, CB Jonathan McKnight, CB Shaquille Richardson)

This unit may have given up a lot of yards and touchdowns last year, but they are a talented and versatile bunch. Tevis is a classic safety that can play the ball in the air and the run and McKnight got off to a hot start in 2012 with interceptions before cooling off. Bondurant is a solid rover type and Richardson is big, athletic and has loads of potential.

5. Oregon State (CB Rashaad Reynolds, S Ryan Murphy, S Tyrequek Zimmerman, CB Sean Martin)

The Beavers will have some serious shoes to fill after the graduation of Jordan Poyer, but Reynolds is a guy who could sneak up into first team All-Pac-12 and the Beavers are none for turning no name guys like the rest of the bunch into quality players.

6. Washington (S Sean Parker, CB Marcus Peters, S Will Shamburger, CB Gregory Ducre)

The Huskies also lose a very good corner in Desmond Trufant but return the experienced and sure tackling Parker and Peters who really improved as the season went on.

7. USC (S Dion Bailey, CB Josh Shaw, S Demetrius Wright, CB Kevon Seymour)

This unit got a major shot in the arm when stud linebacker Bailey was moved back to safety but it still has a long ways to go. Shaw has some experience, but the rest of the guys are unproven and the unit didn't exactly light the world on fire last year with more talent and experience.

8. Washington State (S Deone Bucannon, CB Damonte Horton, CB Anthony Carpenter, S Casey Locker)

I wouldn't be surprised to see this unit do better than many might expect. There is a lot of experience here, some talent and Bucannon is one of the best safeties in the country.

9. Utah (S Eric Rowe, CB Keith McGills, S Tyron Morris-Edwards, CB Justin Thomas)

Another big drop off here between eight and nine, but Rowe was honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2012 and the Utes have historically been good at putting together good secondaries with under-the-radar players like this season's crew.

10. UCLA (S Randall Goforth, CB Anthony Jefferson, CB Ishmael Adams, S Tahaan Goodman)

The Bruins have as good of a defensive back I have ever seen signed in one recruiting class coming in as freshman and they are going to need it. The dismissal of veteran safety Tevin McDonald leaves them with almost no experience here.

11. Cal (S Michael Lowe, CB Kameron Jackson, CB Stefan McClure, S Avery Sebastian)

The Bears were ravaged by graduation and early entrants in their secondary after 2012 but there is some young talent here. It's just all about them stepping up.

12. Colorado (CB Kenneth Crawley, CB Greg Henderson, S Terrel Smith, S Parker Orms)

Boy, the Buffs just really seem to struggle with everything and even though Crawley, Henderson and sophomore Yuri Wright have flashed some potential, there's just nowhere else you can place this unit right now other than the bottom.

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