Auburn football: Projecting the Tigers' post-spring defensive tackle depth chart

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comMay 11, 2014 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI Columbus native Gabe Wright, left, and teammate Angelo Blackson are two of Auburn's four returning defensive tackles next season who will be seniors.


Editor's note: Auburn's spring practice concluded with the A-Day game April 19. Some positions didn't change. Some had upheaval. With that in mind, Auburn beat writer Ryan Black will give his position-by-position projection of the entire depth chart as the Tigers head into the summer. The series continues with the defensive tackles.

Who's Who:

Gabe Wright, senior: Played in all 14 games (11 starts); 31 tackles (16 solo, 15 assisted), 8.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 9 quarterback hurries, fumble recovery

Montravius Adams, sophomore: Played in 13 games; 20 tackles (10 solo, 10 assisted), 1.5 TFLs, sack, 7 QBHs

Angelo Blackson, senior: Played in all 14 games; 16 tackles (six solo, 10 assisted), 3 TFLs, 0.5 sacks, 6 QBHs, forced fumble

Ben Bradley, senior: Played in all 14 games; 14 tackles (six solo, eight assisted), 2 TFLs, sack, 5 QBHs

JaBrian Niles, junior: Appeared in three games; two tackles (one solo, one assisted), TFL, sack

Tyler Nero, sophomore: Appeared in one game; one tackle (assisted), QBH

Jeff Whitaker, senior: Sat out last season with knee injury

Pre-spring projection:

1. Wright

2. Bradley


1. Adams

2. Whitaker


Post-spring projection:

1. Wright

2. Bradley OR Blackson


1. Whitaker

2. Adams

Analysis: Only a slight change to the depth chart, moving Whitaker back into the starting lineup after getting his feet back under him this spring.

Of course, that assumption could be way off. By all accounts, Adams is the most talented player in this group — and toe-to-toe with Carl Lawson for best defensive lineman on the Tigers' roster. But we'll give the slight edge to Whitaker here, if for nothing else than his experience and leadership.

Still, that's a mighty impressive five-man rotation Auburn has. And of any position on the team, who starts here matters little. Defensive line coach Rodney Garner subs players in and out so much, every player will get their fair share of snaps so long as they've proven themselves.

The group will only get deeper, as it adds junior college transfer Devaroe Lawrence and true freshman Dontavius Russell this fall.

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