Clemson Preseason Position Breakdown: Defensive Line

Last year the Clemson defensive line weren't spectacular but seldom were they a weak link. Just like last year, the Tigers will look for someone to step up and be the leader of the group. Malliciah Goodman is gone but he really didn't impress with the exception of the LSU game. The big question for the Dline is can someone be a star.

Defensive end-Vic Beasley and Corey Crawford look to have the upper hand for the 2 starting end positions. Beasley led the team in sacks last season with 8 and he did so in limited action. There is no question he is at pressuring the QB but he has not been good against the run. If he can be a contributor in run defense it will be huge for the Clemson defense. Crawford only had one sack last season. Clemson hopes to have more than one sack for him this season. He is the opposite of Beasley as he is solid at defending the run game. Pushing them will be freshman Shaq Lawson and Tavaris Barnes. Lawson comes in ready to contribute right away. He certainly is fully capable of starting. Barnes is an experienced veteran. He's strong and can also contribute on the interior as well. Redshirt freshman Martin Aiken will be eager to get on the field and Ebenezer Ogundeko will be looking to avoid a redshirt as a true freshman.

Defensive Tackle-Clemson as a good core of interior defensive lineman. Grady Jarrett and Josh Watson should start at the two tackle spots. Jarrett started last season under the radar. This year he will be on opposing team's radar every single game. He should have no problem plugging the middle for the Tigers. Watson is the 3rd leading returning tackler for Clemson. Watson will be able to hold his on against the best offensive linemen. Behind them will be DJ Reader, DeShawn Williams, Tavaris Barnes and Roderick Byers. Reader is 335 pounds and a very good athlete. He is fully capable of being not only a starter but a star. Williams played a lot last season and is like having another starter off the bench. Barnes is another experienced lineman. He can use is ability he uses as an edge rusher to pressure QBs from the interior. Byers has yet to show any consistency. Also, showing little consistency in his 1st season was Carlos Watkins. He had hoped to be in the rotation but really only played in mop up duty last season. Watkins is a talent and could be the next Grady Jarrett.

Projected Depth Chart

Starting Defensive Ends-Vic Beasley and Corey Crawford

Backups-Shaq Lawson and Tavaris Barnes

Defensive Tackles-Grady Jarrett and Josh Watson

Backups-DJ Reader DeShawn, Williams, Roderick Byers, and Carlos Watson.

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