Projecting Cougs' defensive depth chart

THE COUGAR OFFENSE has given every indication it will be explosive in 2014 -- but from this chair the other side of the ball might well hold the most intrigue. WSU hasn't released a post-spring depth chart, but here's ours for the Cougar D.

Xavier Cooper
Darryl Paulo
Daniel Ekuale

Comment: The tackle position up front is strong, with Cooper looking like he's primed for a big season. Paulo and Ekuale are good options without too much drop-off -- Paulo is playing with more confidence, and Ekuale has a very high ceiling.

Toni Pole
Robert Barber
Moritz Christ
Gerald Sterling

Comment: Pole is capable of playing at an All-Pac-12 level, but he can't disappear at times as he and the rest of the line did last year. Barber, finally healthy, is just starting to come into his own. Both Christ (a walk on) and Sterling are on the rollercoaster – some good play, some in need of improvement.

Destiny Vaeao
Lyman Faoliu
Jeff Waldner

Comment: Vaeao had a good spring but needs to find more consistency – he's capable of more given his athleticism. Faoliu could develop into a capable player here but he needs a strong fall camp.

Kache Palacio –OR–
Ivan McLennan
Emmitt Su'a-Kalio

Comment: This could be the most compelling spot on the defense. On one hand, you've got a neck-and-neck battle for the starting spot. But you've also got a guy in Su'a-Kalio at third string who was the Cougs' best pass rusher this spring according to Mike Breske.

Cyrus Coen
Mitch Peterson
Paris Taylor

Comment: Coen had a good, but not great spring, according to Breske. But the expectation is he'll play with more consistency in fall camp and beyond, and you may be surprised at the depth here – three-deep, to put a figure on it. Peterson played well and Taylor improved a good deal over the course of the 15 spring sessions.

Darryl Monroe
Jeremiah Allison
Peyton Pelluer

Comment: Monroe is the best player on D from this chair. As a bonus, Allison turned a corner this spring and Pelluer showed improvement as well. Being able to spell Monroe with quality reps could be big, especially in the latter half of the season. The Cougs should be strong in the middle of the box in 2014.

Tana Pritchard
Chester Sua
Jeremiah Allison
Paris Taylor
Dylan Hanser

Comment: Pritchard had a great spring, according to Breske. But so too did Sua, he said. Now that Sua has his feet wet again after a long layoff, does this battle pick up in fall camp? Meanwhile, Allison and Taylor can also provide depth here. With the position looking as strong as it is, Hanser may be in line for a redshirt.

Daquawn Brown
Marcellus Pippins
Sebastian LaRue

Comment: Brown came out of the spring as the Cougs' best corner, but everyone with "CB" next to their name needs to improve. Pippins got an education this spring and needs to up his output in fall camp. LaRue, if he's granted an appeal, could factor in here. He's still learning after moving over from receiver, but you got the feeling this spring that he might put it all together sooner rather than later.

Tracy Clark
Charleston White
Sebastian LaRue

Comment: Clark was the surprise of the spring at corner, as White continues his crash course of how to become a Pac-12 starting corner. Both corner spots figure to be wide open in fall camp, where summer arrivals Kevin Griffin, Patrick Porter and Sulaiman Hameed will get every chance to show they're ready to play as true freshmen.

Taylor Taliulu
Beau Glover –OR–
Darius Lemora

Comment: Taliulu is your starter here, but Breske says he can be better than he showed this spring. He wasn't bad, it's just that he's capable of so much more. Glover was the surprise of the spring on defense. He's smart and tenacious. But he isn't blessed with the physical skills Lemora has. But having those skills and properly putting them to use as a safety in the Pac-12 are different things. Fall camp should be fun to watch here.

Isaac Dotson
Beau Glover
David Bucannon
Markell Sanders

Comment: Dotson was dinged up much of the spring but he showed enough that he's still the man to beat here. Bucannon showed improvement but needs a more consistent performance. Dotson will have to catch up a bit this summer, but he has a high ceiling and Breske says he can become a special player in the back end if he works at it.

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