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Which Pac-12 football programs produce the best players at each position? Stanford dominates offensive line and Utah defensive line

Breaking down which Pac-12 programs are the best at producing great players at each position.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Since Pac-12 school’s coaches and fan tend to hype up their program’s abilities to produce stars at just about every position across the board in the recruiting cycle, I wanted to take a look into the recent success of every Pac-12 school’s program with the various positions in football. I set out to create a system which would produce data on how actually successful Pac-12 programs have been at producing quality players at different positions.

To determine this, I put together a points system which gave program points for producing All-Pac-12 players (1st and 2nd team) and for producing NFL draft picks. I broke the rankings down by the highest to lowest scores and gave tie breakers to the programs I personally thought were doing a better job. I also incorporated points for where I project players to go in the 2017 NFL Draft.

I only went back as far as the start of the Pac-12, so this only spans the past seven years.

Quarterback

  1. Oregon
  2. Stanford
  3. Cal
  4. USC
  5. Washington State
  6. Arizona State
  7. Arizona
  8. UCLA
  9. Oregon State
  10. Washington
  11. Colorado
  12. Utah
  • The Ducks had the benefit of three years of Marcus Mariota before he became a first round pick.
  • Stanford had the same situation with Andrew Luck and Cal with Jared Goff.
  • Matt Barkley and Cody Kessler have helped the Trojans.
  • Luke Falk’s recent success pushes the Cougars into the top half.
  • Utah’s inability to find a standout QB since joining the conference keeps them at the bottom.

Running Back

  1. Stanford
  2. Oregon
  3. Washington
  4. USC
  5. Utah
  6. UCLA
  7. Arizona State
  8. Cal
  9. Arizona
  10. Colorado
  11. Oregon State
  12. Washington State
  • Stanford has a line of stellar running backs in Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney and Christian McCaffrey.
  • The Ducks aren’t far behind the Cardinal with LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas and Royce Freeman.
  • The Huskies have quietly strung together an impressive streak of excellent running backs with Chris Polk, Bishop Sankey and Myles Gaskin
  • Sad to see a program which recently churned out record-breaking rushers like Oregon State so low.
  • Washington State is obviously at the bottom since they barely use running backs.

Wide Receiver

  1. USC
  2. Cal
  3. Oregon State
  4. Washington State
  5. Colorado
  6. Arizona State
  7. Oregon
  8. Washington
  9. UCLA
  10. Stanford
  11. Arizona
  12. Utah
  • The Trojans have been stacked with stars at receiver with Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
  • The air it out teams like Cal and Washington State make sense up top.
  • The Beavers benefit from a nice succession of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks.
  • Despite dominating the conference, the ground focus of Oregon and Stanford keep them in the bottom half.
  • The grind-it-out style of the Utes and their struggles at QB set up them being the weakest receiver program.

Tight End

  1. Stanford
  2. Oregon
  3. Washington
  4. UCLA
  5. Arizona State
  6. Cal
  7. USC
  8. Colorado
  9. Utah
  10. Oregon State
  11. Arizona
  12. Washington State
  • This was hard to compile because of the lack of potential points and the reduction of the use of tight ends in the conference.
  • However, Stanford has dominated the position with players like Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Austin Hooper.
  • Oregon has utilized the position quite well as well.
  • Obviously a program that doesn’t even use a tight end like Washington State is at the bottom.

Offensive Line

  1. Stanford
  2. USC
  3. Oregon
  4. UCLA
  5. Utah
  6. Arizona State
  7. Washington
  8. Cal
  9. Oregon State
  10. Colorado
  11. Washington State
  12. Arizona
  • Stanford has been an offensive line machine since the inception of the Pac-12, racking up All-Americans, All-Pac-12 players and draft picks.
  • The Trojans have recruited and developed on the offensive line exceptionally well. They get the most talent in the conference up front.
  • The Ducks may have a reputation as a finesse team, but their success on offensive line differs with that.
  • Spread teams like Washington State, Arizona and Cal find themselves at the bottom.

Defensive Line

  1. Utah
  2. UCLA
  3. Oregon
  4. Stanford
  5. USC
  6. Washington
  7. Arizona State
  8. Washington State
  9. Oregon State
  10. Cal
  11. Colorado
  12. Arizona
  • The Utes have developed defensive linemen better than anyone in the conference and their physical focus shows right here.
  • Jim Mora hasn’t always been the most-popular coach, but he has done an excellent job of recruiting and developing star defensive linemen.
  • Oregon has quietly been very good on the defensive line. Dion Jordan, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner were all first-round picks.
  • Again, spread teams like Cal and Arizona haven’t done much on the defensive line recently.

Linebackers

  1. UCLA
  2. Stanford
  3. Washington
  4. USC
  5. Oregon
  6. Arizona State
  7. Cal
  8. Utah
  9. Washington State
  10. Arizona
  11. Colorado
  12. Oregon State
  • Like defensive line, Jim Mora has done a great job at linebacker as well.
  • Stanford has had a string of star linebackers since the Pac-12 was started.

Defensive Backs

  1. Washington
  2. USC
  3. Oregon
  4. Stanford
  5. Arizona State
  6. Oregon State
  7. UCLA
  8. Utah
  9. Colorado
  10. Washington State
  11. Arizona
  12. Cal
  • The Huskies have turned into DB U. Their big recent three of Sidney Jones, Kevin King and Budda Baker played a big part.
  • USC just brings in so much talent in their secondary that it is hard to keep them away from the top.
  • The Ducks had a very nice run of defensive backs before their defense fell apart.

It’s interesting that teams that pass the ball as much as Cal and Washington State have struggled to produce standout defensive backs.