Georgia Football: An Updated Look at the Defensive Spring Depth Chart
The first official spring scrimmage for the Georgia Bulldogs took place on Saturday, giving the coaches an opportunity to evaluate the players and see if any changes needed making to the depth chart.
According to Gentry Estes of 247Sports (subscription required), that turned out to be the case, with the Bulldogs shaking things up on defense during Tuesday's practice.
The most notable change saw Brendan Langley move from cornerback to safety. Another change saw Ray Drew moved down from the first team to the second team.
As we get closer to the G-Day game, let’s take a closer look at the Bulldogs spring defensive depth chart.
Note: J.J. Green and Sheldon Dawson are not listed because they have been playing the "Star" position, which is only used when the Bulldogs are in a nickel formation.
Starters: Jonathan Taylor, James DeLoach, Sterling Bailey
Backups: Mike Thornton, Ray Drew, Josh Dawson
One thing to note about this is that DeLoach and Taylor were two of the four players arrested before spring practice started. That may not mean anything now, but if Mark Richt does take action, two-thirds of the starting defensive line will miss some playing time.
Taylor has the size at 6'4", 336 pounds to be a prototype nose tackle in this 3-4 scheme. DeLoach played outside linebacker last year, but he only played in five games. Meanwhile, Bailey split time with Drew at defensive end. He started nine games, tallied 34 tackles and one sack.
Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker has some work to do between now and the start of fall camp. The defensive line has changed constantly and odds are the three that are starting right now won’t be by the end of August.
Starters: Ramik Wilson, Amarlo Herrera
Backups: Tim Kimbrough, Reggie Carter
Wilson and Herrera are not in danger of losing their spots. They were two of the top three tacklers in the conference last season and are leaders of the defense.
What fans need to watch are the backup positions. Kimbrough and Carter are the current reserves, but that could change. Ryne Rankin is doing some good things, according to inside linebackers coach Mike Ekeler, per Seth Emerson of The Telegraph (Macon). Johnny O’Neal and Tommy Long have also done a good job in practice.
In any case, as of now, Kimbrough and Carter have made the biggest strides and both could hold down the backup spots throughout the offseason.
Starters: Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Floyd
Backups: Davin Bellamy, Shaun McGee
Both Jenkins and Floyd had solid 2013 seasons and should only get better with Jeremy Pruitt at the helm. Jenkins’ sack total was the same as it was in his freshman season, but he did have 12 tackles for loss, which led the team. He was also named to the All-SEC Coaches Second Team.
Floyd tallied 6.5 sacks last year, which was good enough to lead the team. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-American First Team.
Bellamy and McGee, who are both redshirt freshmen, are having good springs and will learn a lot from Jenkins and Floyd all year long.
Starters: Damian Swann, Devin Bowman
Backups: Shaq Wiggins, Reggie Wilkerson
This is another area where there will be a few changes when it’s all said and done. Swann has the most experience, but he has to be a better player than he was last season. Bowman is another player that has experience, but he has only made one start his entire career.
Wiggins had some good moments last season and could really take one of the starting jobs by the fall. Wilkerson redshirted last year and has the opportunity to show what he can do in front of a new coaching staff.
Starters: Tray Matthews, Corey Moore
Backups: Brendan Langley, Quincy Mauger
As was mentioned earlier, Langley made the move from cornerback to safety. Whether he will remain there is another story. However, the coaches believe in Langley’s ability, and they are trying to find out the best way to use him.
One of the reasons Langley moved to safety was the lack of depth at the position. Matthews is the most talented of the bunch, but he’s young and was injury prone last season. Moore started seven games last year and tallied 35 tackles, one sack and one interception.
Mauger was solid his freshman season, registering 57 tackles and one pick.
The safeties last season struggled under Todd Grantham because there were too many mental issues. If Pruitt can get everyone on the same page, there is no reason the safeties can’t improve in 2014.
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