Photo by Allan Johnstone
Oregon Football

Spring Review: Defensive Backs

May 17, 2019

What a difference a year makes. Just last year at this time we had a lot of questions about this group headed into Summer.

This year, especially this week, this group moves up significantly. The defensive back group now might be the second deepest position group on this roster. In just a years time.

Surreal to think about. 

There is no question about the starting corners, Thomas Graham and Deommodore Lenoir return and have some NFL aspirations if they can have big seasons. These are two guys that I don’t think are getting enough fanfare at the moment but by mid-season will be. Both Graham and Lenoir grew bounds last season and were perhaps the biggest improvements on this team from year to year.

Now there is depth and talent behind them. At one point it was these two and nothing else, but now with the addition of Mykael Wright, Oregon has quality depth. It gets even better with Oregon adding Chris Steele via transfer this week. While we wait on his waiver appeal, which I expect to be granted, he’ll have the chance to practice with the team regardless.

Haki Woods got an extra year so it would appear Oregon will have him for depth at worst. Verone McKinley seems locked in to playing a lot of nickel, a huge part of this Oregon defense. He might not start but it won’t mean he doesn’t play quite a few snaps. 

The future is bright for Oregon at defensive back. That doesn’t even count the incoming addition of DJ James, another big-time cornerback with SEC offers. Oregon had to keep Alabama, Tennessee and others from trying to poach him in late January. That’s quite the feat.

At safety it’s a bit more interesting. No doubt Jevon ‘ballhawk’ Holland is back and ready for an even bigger year. I think the pressure Avalos will bring in his defense will only help Holland have more opportunities for picks. 

The spot left open by Ugo Amadi’s departure will be one of the interesting spots to follow this Fall. So far we’ve heard about Brady Breeze, Nick Pickett and Kahlef Hailassie getting some run next to Holland at safety. 

We await for the emergence of Steve Stephens. He’s taken steps towards this and has potential. But at this point it’s unclear if he will be ready to take the spot this year or needs more time.

Not to mention Jamal HIll comes to town this Summer and once again had major SEC programs coming after him in January. Along with the interception machine Trikeweze Bridges. Although Bridges might arrive injured and needing time before he is a full-go. We’ll see how that develops. 

This is the first time in a long time we’ve seen this kind of depth at the defensive back position. It's a great problem to have if your Donte’ Williams and Keith Heyward. I doubt Andy Avalos is very upset about it either. 

Tags: Football, Oregon
Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.