Projecting the Gators 2020 Spring Defensive Line Depth Chart
After covering the Florida Gators' BUCK rush end position in Monday's 2020 spring depth chart projection, today we'll be taking a look at the rest of the defensive line.
Like the BUCK position, Florida lost key contributors at strong-side defensive end and three-technique tackle after the 2019 season in Jabari Zuniga and Adam Shuler, respectively.
Though, the Gators nailed defensive line recruiting with the 2020 class, landing versatile five-star defensive lineman Gervon Dexter, explosive strong-side defensive end Princely Umanmielen, and several others. However, the only incoming freshman who will practice in spring is Lamar Goods, who enrolled early.
And there are several current members of Florida's defensive line who are either poised for a big year or have the potential to produce one in 2020.
Strong-side defensive end
1. Zachary Carter
Carter filled in for Zuniga throughout the 2019 season as Zuniga dealt with a nagging ankle sprain, and emerged as a disruptive pass rusher. Playing S-DE and 3T, similar to Zuniga's utilization, Carter recorded 4.5 sacks and 20 quarterback pressures last season.
Though listed at 6-4, 263 lbs. on Florida's roster, Carter recently posted on Twitter that he's up to 287 lbs. on Twitter. And to pair with his great size for the strong-side position, Carter is explosive off the edge and has namely polished the rip and cross-chop pass rush moves in order to consistently get into the backfield.
Carter improved as a run defender in 2019 as well, and should continue to do so in a full-time role during his redshirt junior season, especially with the weight he's added to set the strong-side edge.
2. Brenton Cox Jr.
As previously noted in the BUCK rush end depth chart projection, Cox, and others, could end up playing both end spots in spring camp as Florida shuffles linemen around to create balance.
Though, Cox is the best fit of the young, yet experienced, linemen that Florida will deploy in 2020. The former five star and rising redshirt sophomore didn't see the field for the Gators in 2019 after transferring from Georgia, but at 6-4, 247 lbs., Cox profiles for the position over the likes of Mohamoud Diabate (6-2, 213 lbs.), Khris Bogle (6-6, 216 lbs.), and others.
With Cox at S-DE, Carter will have the flexibility to continue moving inside on third downs and obvious passing situations to create pressure and open rush lanes for stunts and blitzes.
Versatility is an important part of playing in Todd Grantham's defense. Not only does Cox provide that himself, but he gives Grantham the flexibility to move other linemen around as well.
3. Andrew Chatfield
While Chatfield is stout at 6-foot flat, like Cox, he stands in the 240-pound range, which naturally makes him a fit at S-DE over the longer pass rushers at BUCK.
Entering his redshirt sophomore season, Chatfield could certainly see an uptick in snaps after seeing the field for 71 plays in 2019, but with the additions to the defensive line group in the 2020 class, Chatfield's window to earn those snaps could be limited to spring before Dexter, Umanmielen, and others enroll.
Three-technique defensive tackle
1. Tedarrell Slaton
Standing at 6-5, 335 lbs. and moving well for that size, Slaton is simply a wrecking ball up the middle.
Slaton played the majority of his 265 snaps in 2019 at three-technique, but saw time at nose tackle as well. Which, given his size, makes a lot of sense against the run. Slaton recorded 29 tackles, two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 12 quarterback pressures during his junior season.
Expected to step into a starting role for Florida this season, Slaton already has the eyes of NFL Draft analysts. Whether he will live up to those expectations is yet to be seen, but after a solid season as a part of a rotation on the defensive line, Slaton certainly has the potential to do so.
2. Marlon Dunlap Jr.
This is where things start to get a little scary on Florida's spring defensive line depth chart. Dunlap suffered a season-ending injury against South Carolina, after posting 1.5 sacks and 10 quarterback pressures across 137 snaps.
Like several other key depth pieces left to be discussed, will the rising redshirt senior's injury carry over into spring? Did it ruin any momentum Dunlap was building towards a bigger role? That has yet to be seen.
3. Lamar Goods
Goods, standing at 6-3, 303 lbs., best profiles as a nose tackle on tape. Though, with a lack of depth across the line until fall, Goods will likely see time at both interior positions, primarily 3T, in order to create balance.
Though, enrolling early and getting the opportunity to learn multiple positions should vastly benefit Goods, who was commonly rated below the likes of Dexter and Jalen Lee in Florida's 2020 signing class. He can get ahead on the playbook and potentially take advantage of the lack of depth.
1. Kyree Campbell
The unquestioned leader of Florida's defensive line, Campbell provides a veteran presence for the youth across the line with 24 starts under his belt.
Across 387 snaps in 2019, Campbell posted 39 tackles, one sack, four tackles for loss, 16 quarterback pressures, and a forced fumble as a primary run-stopper in the Gators' defense.
At 6-3, 304 lbs., pairing Campbell with Slaton as the starting interior linemen gives Florida a ton of size along the interior that offenses will have to gameplan for, which should open up more pressure off of the edge.
2. Elijah Conliffe
Like Dunlap, Conliffe suffered a season-ending injury in 2019, though his came before the season even started. It is unknown what Conliffe's injury was at this time or how his recovery has gone, but his outlook is the same as Dunlap's.
Should Conliffe return to full health for spring camp, expect him to serve as the first backup at nose tackle and to be eased into action.
3. Jaelin Humphries
Humphries saw all of one snap in 2019, and otherwise dealt with a nagging knee injury that was previously suffered in high school.
The 6-4, 320 lb. nose tackle is reportedly back to full health, but as the injury was nagging, could it come back again? If not, Humphries has an opportunity to sneak into the primary depth spot at nose tackle in spring, before the rest of the 2020 class enrolls and if Conliffe is being eased into action.