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Top 2017 Pac-12 defensive linemen: Washington’s Vita Vea and Greg Gaines Pac-12 best

Ranking the Pac-12’s best defensive linemen going into 2017

NCAA Football: Washington Spring Game Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports


Running Backs


Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

  1. Vita Vea Jr. DT Washington

The 6’5 340-pound standout is versatile and athletic enough to play on the edge or inside and might be the strongest player in the conference. He is a Top 10 pick in the making and could have a Haloti Ngata-level season in 2017.

2. Greg Gaines Jr. DT Washington

More of a stout fire hydrant than Vea, but just as good. Gaines is an interior run stuffer with a lot of nasty at 320 pounds.

3. JoJo Wicker Jr. DE Arizona State

A rare star on Arizona State’s defense, Wicker made 11.5 tackles in the backfield in 2016 and has one of the best motors on the edge in the conference.

4. Hercules Mata’afa Jr. DE Washington State

Maybe the conference’s best pure pass rusher. Mata’afa can also hold up against the run, but is known for the more than 20 tackles for-loss and 10.5 sacks he has racked up in his career.

5. Lowell Lotulelei Sr. DT Utah

Lotulelei could be the conference’s best defensive player if healthy. He is a run stopping beast with major NFL potential, just like his older brother Star before him.

6. Kylie Fitts Sr. DE Utah

Fitts had a great 2015, but missed all of 2016 with an injury. He gets a second shot at a senior season and likely second time as an All-Pac-12 star.

7. Porter Gustin Jr. DE USC

The 6’5 260 Gustin seems like he might be ready to turn into a nightmare for offenses after already being a very good player in his first two seasons with 20 tackles-for loss and more than 10 sacks.

8. Rasheem Green Jr. DT USC

Like Gustin, the sky is the limit for the 6’5 285 Green as an athletic defensive lineman who could play anywhere on the line. He had 55 tackles and six sacks in 2016.

9. Harrison Phillips Sr. DT Stanford

Phillips will be relied on more with Solomon Thomas off to the NFL, but he is ready as a stout run defender who can control the front line.

10. Filipo Mokofisi Sr. DT Utah

Another rock up front for the Ute defense. He finished 2016 with more than 40 tackles, 8 for-loss and five sacks.

11. James Looney Sr. DE Cal

The Wake Forest transfer broke out for Cal in 2016. He is an athletic defensive lineman and finished 2016 with 7.5 tackles for-loss.

12. Daniel Ekuale Sr. DT Washington State

Ekuale is one of the best run stuffers in the middle in the conference. He forms a nice team up front with Mata’afa.