Pre-Spring Defensive Depth Chart Analysis

MANA ROSA: READY TO MAKE A MOVE?

MIKE RILEY OFFERED some insights on the pre-spring depth chart this week, though injuries are a big part of it and any pre-camp depth chart is far from set in stone. Still, any depth chart, at any time of year, provides plenty of discussion points to mull over for Beaver Nation.

D-LINE
Left Defensive End:
Scott Crichton
Devon Kell
Rusty Fernando
Lavonte Barnett

Left Defensive Tackle
Mana Rosa
Joe Lopez
Brandon Bennett
*Castro Masaniai

Right Defensive End:
Dylan Wynn
Rudolf Fifita
John Braun
Na'Alii Robins
*Blake Harrah

Right Defensive Tackle:
Andrew Seumalo
Desmond Collins
Mana Tuivailala
Noa Aluesi

NOTES: Kell above Fernando is a mild surprise, though it could mean little in the greater scheme of things. Still, Fernando's production did tail off in the latter half of the season and does this mean Kell has had an outstanding offseason? D-end is deep but DT has some questions. DTs Mana Rosa and Andrew Seumalo will be among the more interesting areas to watch. Potentially the Beavs' best d-tackle, Castro Masaniai, is out this spring rehabbing. Noa Aluesi is one to watch -- Riley raved about his potential this week. Harrah is expected to be limited this spring due to injury. Crichton, just a redshirt sophomore-to-be, has already established himself one of the conference's best d-ends after a monstrous 2011 season.

LINEBACKERS
SAM Linebacker:
D.J. Welch
Jabral Johnson
Will Storey
Kyle Egan

MIK Linebacker:
Feti Unga
Rueben Robinson
Josh Williams
Jaswha James
Kyle Gardner
Charlie Gilmur

WIL Linebacker:
Michael Doctor
Cade Cowdin
Shaydon Akuna
Zeke Sanders

NOTES: While the three starters look fairly well set, keep an eye on Will Storey and Cade Cowdin. Riley talked up both this week. Sanders moves to linebacker this spring from safety. And he might not be the only safety making that move in 2012. Unga, Doctor and Welch all showed considerable promise this past season. Unga in particular could develop into one of the top middle 'backers in the conference if he can stay healthy and continues his upward trek. Akuna came into OSU with considerable fanfare but has yet to make a move up the depth chart -- does that change this spring? Tony Wilson's playing days look to be over due to chronic injury but the Beavs look fairly well stocked at the MIK, though inexperienced after the top two.

SECONDARY:
Left Cornerback:
Jordan Poyer
Keynan Parker
*Larry Scott

Safety:
Ryan Murphy
Peter Ashton

Safety:
Tyrequek Zimmerman
*Anthony Watkins

Right Cornerback:
Rashaad Reynolds
Sean Martin
Malcolm Marable
*Brian Watkins

NOTES: Ashton will get a long look this spring, but Riley said he might end up at linebacker at some point. Zimmerman will also get lots of reps with starter Anthony Watkins out -- Riley said his ability is such that the Beavs will find a place for him. The starting corners look set in Poyer and Reynolds but Riley said it's one big question mark as to who will emerge behind them. Murphy showed glimpses this past season that he could develop into a top-notch Pac-12 safety. Marable moves to corner from running back and although he's still suspended for an off-field issue, Riley spoke about him in terms of spring ball.

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