Analysis: Breaking down the defensive two-deep depth chart

Aug 10, 2019 | 0 comments


With only two weeks left until the Gators kick off the season against Miami, jobs are being won and roles are starting to be determined.

Using information gained through personal observations at practice and what we’ve heard from the first scrimmage, here’s our projected two-deep depth chart, as of today, with analysis:

BUCK
PlayerComment
Jonathan Greenard

He’s not as explosive off the edge as Jachai Polite was, but he’s bigger and should be better against the run. Expect him to produce about seven sacks and 15 tackles-for loss.

Jeremiah Moon

He split first-team reps with Greenard in the portions of practice open to the media. He’s bulked up, and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said they might use him all over the field. When they go into their base package, he’s the strong-side linebacker. He might even play Star in special situations.

 

END
PlayerComment
Jabari Zuniga

Getting him back for his senior season was one of Mullen’s biggest wins of the off-season. He excels against the run and the pass. An All-SEC season could be within reach for him.

Zachary Carter

If not for Zuniga’s return, he would’ve likely been the best candidate to have a breakout season. He’s put on a lot of muscle and looks like someone who could terrorize offenses over the next couple of seasons. He’ll have a role this year.

 

NOSE
PlayerComment
Kyree Campbell

He started the final 11 games of the 2018 season and helped shore up the run defense. He’s down to 295 pounds after playing at 315-320 pounds last year. He said the weight loss has made him quicker off the ball, but he hasn’t lost any of his power.

Elijah Conliffe

He started the first two games of the season but was removed from the lineup after Kentucky gashed them for 303 rushing yards. He’s had a quiet camp so far; not much has been said about him either positively or negatively.

 

TACKLE
PlayerComment
Adam Shuler

The West Virginia transfer started 10 games last season and was a steadying force in the middle. He recorded 39 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks. Can he increase his number of tackles-for-loss and impact plays this season?

Luke Ancrum

He’s best known for his interception of Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano last season. He’s undersized at just 263 pounds, but he can also play defensive end. He could have a role in a pass-rushing package.

 

MIDDLE LINEBACKER
PlayerComment
David Reese II

What he lacks in speed and athleticism, he makes up for with his football IQ, toughness, leadership and tackling ability. He’s a stalwart against the run, and he led the team with 102 stops in 2017. He would’ve likely cracked the 100-tackle mark again last season if not for an ankle injury that forced him to miss the first three games.

James Houston

He played in all 13 games in 2018 and was a mainstay on special teams. With a pair of transfers this off-season, he’ll need to take on a larger role this year.

 

WEAKSIDE LINEBACKER
PlayerComment
Amari Burney

He’s an athletic freak and a Swiss Army knife. He played safety as a freshman last season before moving to linebacker in the spring. He has a chance to be the defense’s biggest playmaker.

Ventrell Miller

He started fall camp behind Lacedrick Brunson on the depth chart but worked with the second unit in the scrimmage. He was a key special teams player last season, and he returned an interception 82 yards for a touchdown against Idaho.

 

STAR
PlayerComment
Trey Dean III

He played corner last season before moving to Star in the spring. He’s a long, physical defender, which should allow him to excel against the run. He struggled some in man coverage against speedy receivers, but he won’t be put in those situations as much at Star. This seems like an ideal fit.

John Huggins

Though he has yet to report to camp as he deals with what Mullen has referred to as a “family matter,” he’s No. 2 at the position by default. The Gators moved C.J. McWilliams inside, but he ruptured his Achilles and will miss the season.

 

CORNERBACK
PlayerComment
C.J. Henderson

He’s likely the fastest player on the team and one of the best corners in the country. He recorded five tackles-for-loss, three sacks, two interceptions, a team-high seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 2018. He was named Preseason First Team All-SEC by the media, and he’s showing up as a first-round draft pick on most mock drafts.

Kaiir Elam

He’s the highest-ranked member of Florida’s 2019 class still on the team, and he’s going to be counted on as the third outside corner. He’s long and physical, so he should be ready to play against some of the conference’s top receivers. He could also get some snaps at Star with the depth being as thin as it is.

 

CORNERBACK
PlayerComment
Marco Wilson

He’s shown no signs of rust coming off an ACL injury. He doesn’t possess the blazing speed that Henderson has, but he’s technically sound and might’ve had a better year than Henderson as a freshman in 2017. Teams are going to pick on him early in the season to see how he holds up. They’ll likely regret that decision.

Jaydon Hill

OR

Chester Kimbrough

Hill is working his way back from an ACL injury of his own. He enrolled in the spring, so he should have the coverages and blitzes down by now. Kimbrough arrived in the summer, but will be counted on to provide depth this season.

SAFETY
PlayerComment
Donovan Stiner

Will he become more than a one-hit wonder? He made one of the biggest plays of the season with his earth-shaking sack against Mississippi State, but he struggled against the run at times throughout the year. He doesn’t have elite speed, and he takes bad angles sometimes. That’s a bad combination. He’s in the lineup because he’s a good communicator and he’s been consistently healthy throughout his career.

Shawn Davis

He made one of the highlights of the first scrimmage when he intercepted a Franks pass and returned it for a score. He missed the first month of the 2018 season with an injury but started to flash later in the campaign. He’s better against the run than the pass.

 

SAFETY
PlayerComment
Jeawon Taylor

He wore a non-contact jersey in all of the portions of practice open to the media and ran with the first unit. He sat out the scrimmage, but Mullen said he expects him to be cleared for contact soon. He could be UF’s best safety.

Quincy Lenton

The only reason he’s on here is because Brad Stewart hasn’t practiced in over a week as he deals with an apparent injury. Lenton missed the 2018 season with a torn Achilles, the 2016 season with a foot injury and the second half of the 2017 season with a torn meniscus. He’s played in just four games in his career and has yet to record a stat.

 

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