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There are numerous positions with question marks on Arizona’s roster, but none may have as many questions as the defensive line.
Arizona lost Reggie Gilbert from last season and while that may not be a huge loss on paper, he was easily Arizona’s best pass rusher on the defensive line.
Before looking at the personnel, we have to account for the fact that Arizona is going to be changing its scheme.
Even when only having three defensive linemen, the Wildcats will have a more aggressive pass rush. In the 3-3-5, the job of the defensive line was often to simply hold off blocks, but the coaching staff has been discussing a much more aggressive front this season.
It is difficult to grade Arizona’s defensive line based on last year’s performance because it was held back a bit and we don’t really know how it will perform in a conventional scheme.
The one defensive lineman that got consistent praise throughout the spring was Parker Zellers. Even though he is the smallest of the bunch, Zellers has the best motor and is technically sound.
He is going to get plenty of playing time this season and whether or not he starts is irrelevant, as he will be in the rotation.
Luca Bruno is another player that the coaching staff likes. He continues to put on good weight and is now over 300 pounds.
Bruno can actually be used in the middle or as a true pass-rusher, so it will be intriguing to see where Vince Amey and company like him.
Sani Fuimaono has been solid, but not spectacular. He is a guy that we think will contribute, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he eventually got passed up for the simple fact that he did not improve much last season.
That doesn’t mean he is awful by any means and Arizona doesn’t have a lot of options right now, but we think is ceiling is low.
Beyond that group, there is a lot of potential. However, with potential come questions because we don’t know where these guys are.
Marcus Griffin came in highly ranked, but has done absolutely nothing so far. This was a big spring for him and he got some more time to prove himself.
The summer will be bigger for him though because eventually there comes a time when he needs to show he will be a contributor.
Justin Belknap had one of the best springs on the team. He played plenty in the spring game because of injuries, but performed very well and brought up the idea of him possibly getting legitimate playing time moving forward.
Jack Banda, Calvin Allen, and Aiulua Fanene are three more players that look the part, but haven’t shown they can play it just yet.
Of course, all of this doesn’t take into account what Anthony Fotu will be able to do after his suspension. Also, Josh Allen is going to come in and challenge for playing time right away despite not playing football for a year.