- Azeem Victor Sr. Washington
Victor was the conference’s best linebacker last year and made first-team All-Pac-12 despite missing the last quarter of the season. If healthy, he is the conference’s best defensive player in 2017.
2. Cameron Smith Jr. USC
Smith is an NFL talent at nearly 250-pounds who can thump inside and pick off passes. He is the most physically-imposing linebacker in the Pac-12.
3. Kenny Young Sr. UCLA
Young racked up 90 tackles with 8.5 for-loss and five sacks with a pick and three fumble recoveries in 2016. He should do even more with Jayon Brown graduated in 2017.
4. Koron Crump Sr. Arizona State
Crump is great at blitzing and making plays in the backfield. He finished 2016 with more than 10 tackles for-loss and nine sacks with a pick and three fumbles caused and three recovered.
5. Keishawn Bierria Sr. Washington
Victor’s bash brother is a standout in his own right with great range on the edge. He finished 2016 with 68 tackles, five for-loss and two sacks with five fumble recoveries.
6. Peyton Pelleur Sr. Washington State
One of the nation’s best tacklers, Pelleur had nearly 200 tackles the past two seasons and 18.5 tackles for-loss. One of the most underrated defenders in the Pac-12.
7. Troy Dye So. Oregon
The rangy Dye was outstanding as a freshman and easily could have won Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.
8. Peter Kalambayi Sr. Stanford
A huge outside linebacker who makes plays in the backfield. He has more than 100 tackles in his career with 20 for-loss and 14.5 sacks.
9. Joey Alfieri Sr. Stanford
Another big linebacker at Stanford who makes plays in the backfield. He finished 2016 with more than 50 tackles, more than 10 for-loss and had four sacks with two picks.
10. Kevin Palma Sr. Stanford
Palma is the big linebacker on the inside who holds it down for the Cardinal defense. One of the most physical linebackers in the conference.
11. D.J. Calhoun Sr. Arizona State
A big hitter who lives in the backfield and is deadly in Todd Graham’s attacking defense. He finished 2016 with 77 tackles 11.5 for-loss and 4.5 sacks.
12. Manase Hungalu Sr. Oregon State
A reliable standout for the Beavers, Hungalu had more than 80 tackles, with three sacks, a pick and three fumble recoveries.