Posted August 24th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

Position Rating: B+
Starter: Brian Orakpo, Henry Melton
Reserves: Eddie Jones, Sam Acho, Russell Carter, Aaron Lewis

Eddie JonesEven after moving two of the position’s best players inside to defensive tackle, defensive end is still one of the team’s greatest strengths heading into the season. There’s a possible dominant pass rusher in [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] and on the other side there’s an interesting battle brewing for the power end. The talent and depth at the position may be the strongest of any position on the team.

Orakpo has all the tools to be a disruptive force off the edge. He had a solid 9 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks despite only appearing in nine games and not being 100% last season due to a knee injury in the season opener. After an impressive Holiday Bowl performance (4.5 tackles behind the line and 2 sacks) Texas fans are hoping for the same thing for an entire healthy season.

At the power end former running back [tag]Henry Melton[/tag] is currently expected to be the starter but is being pushed by young and extremely talented players behind him. At 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, if he can play hard every down Melton could play himself into a lot of NFL money this season. If he stumbles there’s a lot of talent ready to step up behind him.

Sophomore [tag]Eddie Jones[/tag] is a former five-star recruit and will split time with Melton to start the year. Jones is the future at the position and I expect him to get a larger and larger share of the snaps as the season progresses regardless of how well Melton performs. Behind Orakpo is exciting sophomore [tag]Sam Acho[/tag]. He didn’t play a ton last year but he showed incredible flashes of ability and a knack at getting after the quarterback during his true freshman season.

Overall defensive end should be a position well stocked with talent for the next several years. This season there’s talent and depth and if guys fulfill their promise it will make a huge difference to the entire defense. If the line can put pressure on the quarterback everyone else’s job gets a lot easier.

Update: Official depth chart for FAU is out and [tag]Aaron Lewis[/tag] is listed as a co-starter with Melton so I’ve added him to the list of reserves.

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