2013 Pac-12 Pre-Season Position Group Rankings: Defensive Line

Otto Greule Jr

Stanford once again is very strong up front on defense.

1. Stanford (DE Henry Anderson, DE Ben Gardner, DE Josh Mauro, DT David Parry)

Once again, the Cardinal are the strongest team in the conference up front and will be very, very hard to run against. Their strength will be on the edges where Anderson and Gardner are two of the best defensive ends in the conference. Anderson is as good of a run defender as there is in the conference and Gardner is a little bit more of a pass rusher, throw in Mauro too and you have a great group up front.

2. USC (DE Morgan Breslin, DT Leonard Williams, DT George Uko, DT Antwaun Woods)

Stanford's defensive line might be better than USC's, but USC's has the most raw talent. Breslin can go toe-to-toe with Sutton and Crichton as the best pass rusher in the conference and is also very strong and stout against the run. Williams is only a sophomore and probably the most talented young lineman in the conference who has a similar skill set to Sutton as a big, athletic lineman who can play all over the front line. There is also great depth here as Uko and Woods round out the group along with some other very talented players waiting in the wings.

3. Arizona State (DT Will Sutton, DT Jaxon Hood, DE Junior Onyeali, DE Davon Coleman)

Obviously Sutton is the best defensive player in the conference, but he's not the only standout up front for the Sun Devils. Hood is a tough young tackle while Onyeali can be one of the best pass rushers in the conference when healthy. Coleman is another good player that brings great size to the position and can get after the quarterback.

4. Oregon (DE Taylor Hart, DT Wade Keliikipi, DT Ricky Heimuli, DT Arik Armstead)

The Ducks have two of the more underrated defensive linemen in the conference on the same team in Hart and Keliikipi. Hart is a great pass rusher and Keliikipi is a big run stuffer who shuts down the middle. Heimuli is an experienced additional run stopper and Armstead is a former five-star recruit and basketball player that has as much potential as any player in the conference at any position.

5. Cal (DT DeAndre Coleman, DE Brennan Scarlett, DT Mustafa Jalil, DT Keni Kaufusi)

The Bears always seemed to have great defensive fronts under Jeff Tedford and even though he and ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi are gone, they left a lot of talent here. Coleman is a big senior that can shut down the middle and Scarlett a strong player out on the edge. There is also some great depth too with Jalil, Kaufusi and former big time recruit Viliami Moala.

6. Oregon State (DE Scott Crichton, DE Dylan Wynn, DT Edwin Delva, DT Siale Hautau)

This is all about Crichton. Big, fast, strong and relentless in pass rushing, Crichton is likely a future first round draft pick and arguably the best defensive end in the conference. There isn't much else to get excited about in this unit, though Wynn does have some experience, but with Crichton up front they will at least give offensive lines one big problem.

7. UCLA (DE Cassius Marsh, DT Seali'I Epenesa, Keenan Graham, DE Brandon Willis)

Much like Oregon State, there is one really good player here and then a group of relatively unproven and average players. Marsh is another great combo defensive lineman and an experienced senior who can get after the quarterback, but some other players are going to have to step up here.

8. Utah (DE Trevor Reilly, DE Nate Orchard, DT Tenny Palepoi, DT L.T. Tuipulotu)

No one lost more experience up front from 2012 than the Utes who graduated Star Lotulelei and Dave Kruger and Joe Kruger when he left early. They still have some talent and experience though, as the talented Reilly moved up full time from outside linebacker and Orchard (formerly Fahakahafua), played very well in 2012.

9. Washington (DT Danny Shelton, DE Josh Shirley, DE Andrew Hudson, DT Josh Banks)

The Huskies really struggled to get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks last season, but Shelton is great against the run and Shirley can get sacks when he is on.

10. Washington State (DT Xavier Cooper, DT Ioane Gauta, DE Matthew Bock, DT Toni Pole)

The Cougars have started to accumulate experience here, but unfortunately that hasn't seemed to equal success anywhere for the Cougars in recent years, though Cooper is a promising young player that could eventually help turn things around.

11. Colorado (DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe, DT Josh Tupou, DT Nate Bonsu, DE Samson Kafevalu)

Like the Cougars, it never seems to matter anymore if the Buffs have experienced players but they do a bit on the line this year. Uzo-Diribe is probably the Buffs best defensive player though and can rush the passer.

12. Arizona (DE Dan Pettinato, DT Sione Tuihalamaka, DE Reggie Gilbert, DT Tevin Hood)

The Wildcats had one of the worst defenses in the country in 2012 and a lot of that had to do with how weak they are along the line and there's really no reason to think they will be any better in 2013 with limited talent and experience returning.

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