Michigan State Football: Projecting defensive depth chart for 2020

Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State football
Jacub Panasiuk, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Defensive line

Starting defensive tackles: Naquan Jones, Jacob Slade
Backups: Dashaun Mallory, Jalen Hunt

The defensive tackle spot might be the most difficult to predict. Seeing as the Spartans lost Mike Panasiuk and Raequan Williams from last season, there will be two new starters and the depth at the position is seriously lacking.

Naquan Jones is the only lock to start here. He enters his senior year and could be the guy who keeps Michigan State’s draft streak alive. Next to him is likely to be Jacob Slade who has 15 career tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in 14 games. He could be a breakout candidate.

Behind them is a crapshoot. Dashaun Mallory and Jalen Hunt both have a ton of potential and plenty of size, but they may be too raw still. We should see them get chances.

Starting defensive ends: Jacub Panasiuk, Michael Fletcher
Backups: Jack Camper, DeAri Todd

Originally, Jacub Panasiuk decided to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but with the new protocols in place, he has chosen to return. He should be the leader of the line and could have an All-Big Ten caliber season.

Starting on the opposite side of the line could, and probably should, be Michael Fletcher. He has plenty of potential there and the redshirt freshman’s size is ideal as well. He’s an athlete.

Jack Camper could also find his way into that starting lineup over a guy like Fletcher, but I think pure talent outweighs experience here. And don’t sleep on DeAri Todd. People seem to forget about him, but he was a scout team star not too long ago and got lost on a loaded depth chart.