For the first time in a long time, Oklahoma has a lot of talented depth along the defensive line. For the purpose of this post, I decided to include the Rush OLB's in this group.
Starting off at the Nose, I think you have to go with Perrion Winfrey. Coming in at a very well put together 6'4" 305, he'll be the lynchpin beast nose that Grinch needs to make this defense hum. He's big, strong, quick and fast. Close behind him will be Jordan Kelley at 6'3" 303. He's an Oklahoma kid who may have gotten some time last year, had it not been for the busted knee.
Josh Ellison, who goes 6'3" 295 will start out at one of the shade techniques in the B Gap DT spot. For Ellison, getting on campus as a January enrollee will be huge in his development. He's a juco guy who has four years to play three, but barring injury, I doubt he'll use all four. When you watch his film, he's a guy who played a lot as a defensive end. He's got good quickness and size, he'll just need to develop his strength. He's not as chiseled or developed as Winfrey is, and no doubt, Coach Wylie will get him right. As he develops that upper body strength, he'll turn into a beast. Having Winfrey at 305, and him at 300 will be huge, no pun intended. For the first time in a long time the Sooners will have a tandem of inside guys, and a 3rd with Kelley at 300 pounds.
A guy who the Sooners still have is LaRon Stokes who has a great frame and is 6'4" 265. This offseason, I'd really like to see him get up to about 285 or 290. Gaining 20 or 30 pounds of mass and strength would be great for him at that DT spot.
At the Defensive end spot, I don't think there was a bigger loss than Ronnie Perkins for the Peach Bowl. In my opinion he's the best Defensive Linemen the Sooners had last year, and will be aiming to stake claim to that this year as well. Whether or not the suspension holds up remains to be seen, but he'll still practice this spring and go through drills. He'll no doubt be a leader in that 1st group. Behind him we'll see Jalen Redmond who is going through his 1st offseason strength and conditioning program. Everything we saw from him last year was God given, since he hasn't been able to do a lot of training because of blood clots. Well No news is good news, and Having him and Perkins as a one two punch, especially in long yardage will be able to give the Sooners a lot of Pass Rushing skills up front. From the rumors I've heard, the coaches want him playing around 280. To see him go from the babyfat 265 to a rocked out 280-285 would be amazing. Can you see the SEC type defensive line come into focus?
At Rush OLB, word on the street is that they want to move Ugwoegbu to the inside at Mike. Having a guy who's 6'4" 240 as your middle linebacker can do some things clogging up passing lanes and not getting over matched length wise. He played well at the rush spot last year, and made some key plays against Baylor among others. Moving him to the inside tells me that the Sooners have to feel really good about Nik Bonitto 6'3" 231 and getting John Michael-Terry, who CTSooner likes to call Steady Eddie back from the acl tear. He's another 6'3" 230 type guy who showed great range and speed setting the edge in the run game. It also tells me that the Sooners are looking to play Reggie Grimes, the all everything pass rusher from Tennessee at this spot. If JMT is good to go, you've got three really solid players, and possibly a future star in Grimes at 6'4" 240 as a true freshman. Behind them you've also got a really talented Joseph Wete who redshirted last year, but is also a very long 6'4" 220 type guy. It'll be interesting to see how much weight he adds in the offseason.
Adding key depth will be the aforementioned Wete, along with Kori Roberson, who had he not been hurt as a senior would have been rated much higher and goes 6'4" 272. Marcus Hicks, who's a Sooner fan favorite amongst twitterers due to his dad is a guy who is 6'5" 262 and the son of a police officer. Not far fetched to think he could be a 280 guy this year. Isaiah Thomas 6'5" 250 and Marcus Stripling 6'3" 250 are another couple of guys who could make a jump this year and provide some spot duty help and great quickness.
Overall, i'm as excited to see this group as I am any group there is on campus. Winter and Spring ball along with Summer will be key for this group. It's no doubt the group that needs to make the biggest leap among all groups this year for the Sooners to get past the 1st round of the playoffs. Bet your boots, I'll be in Norman in April to check em out!