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Purdue Football: Defensive Line Breakdown

Uh, this is scary.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I thought the offensive line depth was scary.

But, the defensive line depth is even worse. It just doesn’t look good right now. We need to find some guys that can play that are already on the roster. It will take a season or two to fix this problem, the 2018 class will probably be full of pass rushers, as we don’t have many on the roster.

One guy we have found that can play is Rob Simmons. The DE/OLB hybrid, he is huge at 6’6”, 230 Pounds, he can out even more on his frame. Simmons could turn into a really good pass rusher.

The interior line is okay, when looking at starters, but the depth is terrifying. There is nothing behind Gelen Robinson and Eddy Wilson. Just real terrifying.

Here is my best guess on what the depth chart will look like after the summer:


NT (1 Technique): Eddy Wilson - 6’4”, 305 Pounds, Junior

Eddy was up in the air on if he would come back or not after the past season for personal reasons. Good news, he is back. If he wasn’t we would have a gigantic hole to fill here. Eddy is a talented guy, he should start all 12 games for us this year if he is healthy and his motor is full go. I think he could be our best defensive lineman.

DT (3 Technique): Gelen Robinson - 6’1”, 285 Pounds, Senior

It appears as if Gelen has made a position change. His first three seasons, he primarily was focused at defensive end, but with very little production. He seems a little heavy for defensive end now, and Coach Brohm has moved him inside, maybe we can get some middle of the line pass rush now.

Weakside DE: Antoine Miles - 6’3”, 266 Pounds, Senior

Will the senior finally come on this year? This could be Kai Higgins’ spot too. If he doesn’t figure it out, this position is up for grabs. I for one, hope that he figures this all out.

Strongside DE: Austin Larkin - 6’3”, 262 Pounds, Senior

The JuCo transfer last year should be the starter. He played at Notre Dame, then went to the Community College of San Francisco. I think he could really gives us a rush off the edge. He is nice size at 6’3”, 260 Pounds. He will benefit from the new scheme.


NT: Lorenzo Neal - 6’2”, 345 Pounds, Sophomore

He is a big, wide, low to the ground player. Nose tackle fits him perfectly, he can take on one or two blockers to free up space for our linebackers to make plays.

DT: Anthony Watts - 6’4”, 295 Pounds, Redshirt Freshman

Anthony is a guy that can be moved around all over the line. He could be in line to play some defensive end as well.

Weakside DE: Kai Higgins - 6’4”, 250 Pounds, Sophomore

Kai is a JuCo product that could play a major role right away. He will fight for the starting position too, he has a pretty nice frame and a good burst off the edge, he could be in for a vital role.

Hybrid OLB/Stronside DE: Rob Simmons - 6’6”, 235 Pounds, Junior

I couldn’t decide to list him at OLB or DE as he is a hybrid, so I will list him at both spots for the break downs. Simmons is a freak of nature athletically. He is gigantic in height and he sticks out like a sore thumb on the field, he did at the spring game anyway. He is raw and is figuring out this hybrid spot, but he probably will be our best bet to lead the team in sacks.

Deep Reserves:

Mike Ziegler - 6’4”, 255 Pounds, Defensive End, Junior (walk on)

Alex Criddle - 6’4”, 305 Pounds, Defensive Tackle, Sophomore

Alex could be #2 on the depth chart over Watts.

Fred Brown - 6’1”, 280 Pounds, Defensive Tackle, Sophomore

Keiwan Jones - 6’2”, 270 Pounds, Defensive Tackle, Junior

Will Colmery - 6’5”, 290 Pounds, Defensive Tackle/End, Junior

Coming off of brain surgery.

Chazmyn Turner - 6’5”, 265 Pounds, Defensive End, Sophomore

Out for the season with a knee injury.

Incoming Freshman:

Jalen Jackson - 6’3”, 260 Pounds, Defensive Tackle, 3*

Allen Daniels - 6’2”, 280 Pounds, Defensive Tackle, 2*

Giovanni Hightower-Reviere - 6’5”, 225 Pounds, Defensive End, 2*

As you can see, defensive line is not our strong point. I do believe that we could see a lot of different types of fronts. Like a 3 man DL, with 4 LBs, but one of the LB’s being an edge rusher (Simmons) or just a general 3-4 sometimes too. The coaches we have now will adjust to what type of players we will have. They will not run a 4-2-5 defense when the secondary is our weakest spot, yes that happened last season. I trust this staff to curtail the scheme to what is best for the team.