OU pre-camp depth chart: Defense

Secondary could be a mixed bag; Striker's position leaves defense fluid

The wait for football has shrunk from months to weeks to days, and now the first practice officially in the books.

Oklahoma still has plenty of positions left to be secured.

Things will likely change with each passing day before the Sooners open the season against Akron on Sept. 5 – approximately one month from now. There’s always a place to start.

Here’s a look at Oklahoma depth chart from the viewpoint of one man:


Defensive end - Charles Tapper, Charles Walker, D.J. Ward, Dwayne Orso, Neville Gallimore

Why? Tapper and Ward will be the two exclusive defensive ends, whereas Walker, Orso and Gallimore will move inside on occasion if Eric Striker puts his hand on the ground. . . . Gallimore has an early shot to pass Orso to serve as Walker’s direct back-up. . . . If Striker stands up at linebacker, Walker will play opposite Tapper.

Defensive tackle - Matt Romar, Walker, Jordan Wade, Orso

Why? Romar and Wade will serve as the nose guard of sorts – kind of like Jordan Phillips role last season. . . . Walker could be a dominant presence on the inside as well.

Middle linebacker - Dominique Alexander, Jordan Evans, Frank Shannon, Tay Evans, Arthur McGinnis

Why? Don’t be surprised to see Shannon as the direct back-up to both Alexander and Evans. . . . Right now, Alexander looks like the top middle linebacker on the roster, but it’s a very tentative situation. Evans could pass him very quickly. . . . If McGinnis gets healthy, Oklahoma has shown it isn’t against playing a freshman middle linebacker.

Outside linebacker - Eric Striker, Devante Bond, Ogbonna Okoronkwo, Ricky DeBerry,

Why? Obo will serve as the direct back-up to Bond and Striker. . . . Depending on his health, DeBerry could take a spot behind Striker, who will rotate between defensive end/hybrid and traditional stand-up linebacker.

Cornerback - Zack Sanchez, Jordan Thomas, Will Johnson, P.J. Mbanasor, Dakota Austin

Why? Sanchez and Thomas are the clear-cut starters entering camp, but Johnson has played well enough to give Oklahoma confidence in his No. 3 corner – something that the Sooners didn’t have last year. . . . Mbanasor could even see playing time, and maybe play well enough to split the back-up roles with Johnson.

Nickel back - Steven Parker, Will Johnson

Why? This is Parker’s role to lose. It was made for him. . . . Reports are that Johnson has looked solid in a back-up role. . . . Parker will likely be here even through bad play. Injury is the only thing that will take him out of the lineup.

Free safety - Ahmad Thomas, Will Sunderland, Prentice McKinney

Why? Thomas started all 13 games last season at free safety, but he’s far from secure. . . . McKinney has a chance to play at both safety positions. . . . Sunderland was brought in to play free safety. He might take the starting job by Big 12 play.

Strong safety - Hatari Byrd, McKinney, Kahlil Haughton

Why? McKinney has been getting the best reviews in summer workouts and might have the best shot at being the first of the three safeties to crack the starting lineup. . . . Byrd will have the first shot at earning the starting role. It’s his first and last chance to prove himself.

Punter - Austin Seibert, Jack Steed

Why? Seibert is more likely to be the full-time punter than the full-time kicker. So don’t be surprised if Steed never sees game action.

What changes would you make?

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