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30 Day Countdown - Day 29: Draft a Pac-12 Defensive Player

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If we could pluck just one player to improve Death Row, who would it be?

NCAA Football: UCLA at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Hey Eric Dickerson, how many days ‘till Husky Football?

The Washington Husky defense is loaded with talent at every position, but just for fun we thought we’d play a little Pac-12 Fantasy Football and select a player who could show up on the first day of camp and be a key contributor by the time the season rolls around. The rules are simple: Any Pac-12 defensive player is eligible, and this is a player who would contribute in 2017 only, so no picking a guy to fill a void down the line.

The players I’ve selected are not necessarily the best defensive players in the Pac-12, but ones that could fill a need for the Huskies. Guys like UCLA’s Kenny Young & Cameron Smith from USC are as good as any defenders in the conference, but UW is talented, experienced and deep at the inside linebacker position. Ditto interior D-Line.

To the nominees:

Hercules Mata'afa DE, WSU Cougars

NCAA Football: California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, it would just be cool to have a guy named Hercules on the defense. Secondly, this dude is a really, really good football player. The 6’2”, 255-pound junior from Lahaina, Hawaii has tallied 24.5 tackles-for-loss and 12 sacks in two seasons for the Cougs. Mata'afa is adept at lining up all over the place, a trait that Pete Kwiatkowski covets. He is relentless coming off the edge, but also gets a ton of his tackles for loss and sacks coming right up the gut on a twist, something we saw Psalm Wooching do a lot last season.

Koron Crump OLB, ASU Sun Devils

NCAA Football: Washington State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Our next candidate is another pass-rusher extraordinaire in Crump, who was third in the conference last season with nine sacks. In his first season out of junior college, he started eight games, half at Devil-backer (Buck) and half at other linebacker spots. Listed at 6’3” 218, Crump is said to be up to close to 225-230 pounds for his junior season. He is far more effective lining up outside and using his speed to rush from the edge than his is in the box, but his added weight and experience could allow him improve in that area of his game. As a pure stand-up outside pass rusher, Crump is outstanding.

Quenton Meeks CB, Stanford Cardinal

Kansas State v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Maybe it’s not an edge rusher the Huskies could use, but a lengthy, experienced corner instead. We’re confident that Jimmy Lake has restocked the cupboard with guys talented enough to fill the void left by Sidney Jones and Kevin King, but the 6’2” 195 pound Stanford junior has 23 starts under his belt and has made some preseason All-America lists. With six pass breakups and two picks last season Meeks, could be the right choice here.

There are a lot of great defensive players in the Pac-12 conference, and these are just three of them. Who you got?

Poll

Who would you want on the Husky Defense for 2017?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Hercules Mata'afa, WSU
    (181 votes)
  • 16%
    Koron Crump, ASU
    (59 votes)
  • 15%
    Quenton Meeks, Stanford
    (55 votes)
  • 19%
    Someone Else
    (70 votes)
365 votes total Vote Now