During the next few weeks, we’re going to go through Oregon’s roster, position by position, examining what talent was lost to graduation or the NFL and what that leaves the Ducks with in 2014.
Yesterday we looked at the defensive line, and today we’re checking out the Ducks’ hybrid drop end-linebacker.
Who was lost after the 2013 season: None
Lost production: None
Statistics of returning players: 72 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hurries, 4 forced fumbles
Outlook: Oregon should be fine at the drop end position. Washington is back, a season after he led the Ducks in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (7.5). He will be a guy Oregon consistently relies on for quarterback pressure, and expect him to more than deliver.
The drop end, like so many of the other positions, boasts major talent at the starting position and then (pun intended) drops off a bit through the reserves. French and Carriger have taken limited snaps, but look for them to get some game action early in the schedule before the Ducks begin relying on Washington almost exclusively.
With the defensive line's added size and the improvement it showed this spring, there are certainly a few early signs that the D-line will be able to handle opposing offensive lines better in 2014 than it did in 2013. If that's the case, look for defensive coordinator Don Pellum to dial up a few creative blitz schemes to use the experience and talent of Washington, as well as the rest of his linebackers, to get to opposing quarterbacks.
Other spring position reviews: