Position battle: Defensive end

Position battle: Defensive end

There is not a lot of depth at defensive end, but there is some talent there. Read on to see what that talent is and who has the best chance of starting.

Arizona is lacking depth on the defensive line and although nearly each available player will see some sort of time, here is a breakdown of the defensive ends and the role that they may see.

Dan Pettinato: Pettinato sat out the spring with a knee injury and his health will be something that is closely watched this summer. If Pettinato can get healthy, he is going to have a good opportunity to start. He actually started games at both defensive end and tackle, so his versatility is something that the coaching staff likes.

In addition, Pettinato was able to get 34 tackles on the season. His potential is solid, but he has to keep up his production as well. Of course, it is difficult to analyze his possibilities too much without knowing where his health stands, but Pettinato is a player that has enough potential to contribute.

Kyle Kelley: There might not be a lineman on Arizona that has higher expectations placed upon him than Kelley. He came in as one of Arizona's most highly touted recruits and after a redshirt year, is now looking to contribute.

"I like Kyle Kelley," Bill Kirelawich said. "I think Kyle probably out of all the kids has come the furthest in the spring. He may have a lot longer to go, but I think he is another guy that tries like hell, shows up, does a good job for us.

"Is he game ready? I don't know yet. He will determine that in summer camp, but he is moving in that direction."

We're going to find out soon enough, because Kelley is going to see the field plenty. He has gained a nice amount of good weight and looked to be one of the better linemen in the spring. Kelley's potential is obviously high and the coaching staff is counting on him to contribute a relatively good amount.

Reggie Gilbert: Gilbert saw a good amount of time at defensive tackle, but he is probably better as a defensive end. In fact, you can make an argument that he is Arizona's best option as a pass rusher, as 6 of his 19 tackles were for a loss. When Kirelawich discusses Gilbert, he has nothing but good things to say.

Like any lineman on the team, Gilbert has some growth to do in terms of learning the plays and being able to get the scheme down. However, he already contributed last season and is going to have a role on the line somewhere. Gilbert is a good bet to make a solid contribution on the defensive line.

Justin Washington: Last season, Washington struggled with maturity issues and getting in shape as well. When he finally worked back into the good graces of Rich Rodriguez, he made a solid impact. Washington finished with 18 tackles, including two for a loss and showed glimpses of what he was recruited to do.

Figuring that Washington can keep a good mentality and be in good shape, he is going to have a chance here. The coaches do like him when his head is on straight and as long as he does that, there will be a spot for him. In terms of pure ability, Washington may have the most on the line and the hope is that he can translate that into production.

Freshmen: It would be a surprise if any of the freshmen were able to contribute right away and Kelley redshirting is a good example of that. Allen has very good athleticism and is probably one of the biggest sleepers in the class, but that does not mean that he is ready to contribute right away. Luca Bruno could be experimented with at end, as he is physically ready to play, at least from a size perspective. Jack Banda is a player the coaching staff likes, but it would be a surprise if he saw playing time right away as well.

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