Ahead of the Oregon Ducks’ season kick-off game against the Auburn Tigers at the end of August, it’s important to look through the team’s depth chart and figure out how the Ducks stack up against the rest of the nation.
To start things off, let’s take a look at the defensive backs in Oregon, and determine how things stand:
Verone McKinley III — Redshirt Freshman
McKinley redshirted during his freshman season after signing with the Ducks as a four-star prospect in 2018, ranked as the No. 32 cornerback in the nation. McKinley doesn't possess great size, but his ability to move throughout the secondary and make his way to the ball will allow him to be a difference maker on the edges for Oregon this year.
Haki Woods Jr. — Redshirt Senior
Woods came to the University of Oregon as a transfer from junior college, and he spent much of his first season playing on special teams for the Ducks. In his senior season, Woods might be able to carve out some time on the field by flying around and serving as a replacement-level player for the defense.
Deommodore Lenoir — Junior
Lenoir played in all 13 games for the Ducks in 2018, where he totaled three interceptions and finished second on the team with nine pass breakups. Lenoir also had 52 tackles in his sophomore year.
Now, Lenoir will act as one of the leaders of the defense, helping to hold the secondary down and shore up the back end.
DJ James — Freshman
James comes to Oregon as a three-star recruit, ranked No. 42 in the nation. His 6-0, 180 pound frame will allow him to get in the way of jump balls and hopefully turn into a solid backup for the Ducks early on.
Brady Breeze — Redshirt Junior
Breeze played in all 13 games in 2018, though he saw most of his time on special teams. Coming into this year, it has not yet been determined whether Breeze or Nick Pickett will get the starting nod at the position, but both will likely see a good share of the time.
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Nick Pickett — Junior
Pickett started in 12 of the 13 games for Oregon last season, and he finished fourth on the team with 59 total tackles. His past performance would suggest that Pickett will be named the starter again this year, but an impressive offseason for Breeze has made it a competition for the starting spot.
Jevon Holland — Sophomore
Holland won the Len Casanova Freshman of the Year Award for Oregon last season, as he was named to the Pro Football Focus Pac-12 Team of the Week twice (3,5). Holland had a team-high five interceptions in his freshman season, which ranked second in the Pac-12. It was the most interceptions by a Duck since Eric Dargan grabbed seven in 2014.
This season, look for Holland to get even better as he floats over the top of the defense and shuts down anything going over the top.
Kahlef Hailassie — Sophomore
Hailassie played in all 13 games as a freshman, but was primarily used in special teams.
He has the talent to be a starting-caliber safety on many teams, but the presence of Holland in front of him is likely to make things tough this season for Hailassie.
Thomas Graham Jr. — Junior
Graham made the All Pac-12 Second Team in 2018, and extended his streak of consecutive games started to 25. He tied for No. 3 nationally with 18 pass breakups, and had three interceptions.
Graham's veteran presence will go a long way for the Ducks this season as he acts as a lock-down defender on the edge.
Mykael Wright — Freshman
Wright is another of Oregon's highly-touted freshman, as he signed with the team ranked as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation, and the No. 19 player in the nation. Though he sits behind Graham on the depth chart, the Oregon coaching staff will undoubtedly try to get Wright on the field as much as they can this season.