The Auburn Tigers lost Dee Ford to the NFL draft this past weekend, but that doesn’t mean that their line will miss a beat. Last season, the Tigers’ defensive line struggled early on, but matured every week. Ford was second in the SEC with 14.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He was the heart and soul of the defense, but was not the only playmaker on the line. Gabe Wright, who will be a senior this season, played a pivotal role in the team’s defense last season. The Tigers also have a plethora of young, talented players in Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel.
During the upcoming season, the Tigers’ defensive line should be better than they were in 2013. Although the line lost a key player, it will likely have more depth and experience. The options are endless for the Tigers. With the return of Wright and fellow seniors Angelo Blackson, LaDarius Owens and Ben Bradley, the Tigers could have five seniors starting up front. That is a lot of leadership for one defense to have.
Wright will likely make the biggest impact out of the group, but don’t be surprised to see the rising sophomores have big seasons. Lawson showed signs of greatness in 2013 and Wright can’t wait for the Auburn faithful to see the talented player. Lawson was a Sporting News Freshman All-American and finished the 2013 campaign with 20 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. He has all the tools to be one of the SEC’s best defensive lineman.
Not only did Lawson show glimpses of greatness last season, but Adams did too. Adams came to Auburn as one of the most highly coveted lineman in the country. He finished his freshman season with 20 tackles and one sack. The young tandem of Adams and Lawson will be a scary one for the next few seasons.
The Tigers’ defense should be fun to watch with all the talent they have returning. Along with the Georgia Bulldogs, the Tigers should have one of the best defensive lines in the SEC. It will be interesting to see which rotation DC Ellis Johnson will use to start off the 2014 season.