2013 Pitt Football Projected Depth Chart: The Defense

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

What the defensive depth chart may look like September 2.

Yesterday we took a look at what the offense depth chart may be against Florida State. Today, it's the defense's turn. Pitt has more returning players on this side of the ball and it is expected to be the stronger side of the team. Still, there are many questions out there..

Defensive End - This could be the spot with the most questions. Bryan Murphy and David Durham have taken the majority of the snaps with the first team, but both have dealt with injuries as well. Veterans, LaQuentin Smith and Jack Lippert will compete for time, along with younger guys like Ejuan Price and Shakir Soto. Price, in particular, has a real chance to pull off a bit of an upset and start.

Defensive Tackle - There is no question about who is in charge here. Aaron Donald is the man, but Darryl Render will also get some time when the linemen rotate.

Nose Guard - Tyrone Ezell will be back to handle the nose guard duties. He will be backed up by true freshman, Tyrique Jarrett, of Allderdice High School. Pitt is a little thin here with the suspension of veteran, Khaynin Mosley-Smith.

Outside Linebacker - Pitt has a very good and experienced guy here in Todd Thomas, but he had an interesting training camp in case you missed that. Journeyman junior, Anthony Gonzalez found a spot at linebacker, and looks like he could take one of the spots. Also vying for a starting spot is talented redshirt freshman, Bam Bradley. His older brother, Nicholas Grigsby, started some games last season, and is in the race as well. So it is far from settled here, but expect all four of these guys to be on the field.

Middle Linebacker - Shane Gordon is the man in the middle, and its hard to imagine that changing. Freshmen, Mike Caprara, Devon Porchia, and Matt Galambos will all serve as his understudy by committee.

Cornerback - Lafayette Pitts and K'waun Williams are the starters, and there is no doubt about that. The duo is expected to be one of the best corner combos in the ACC. A pair of redshirt freshmen, Jahmahl Pardner and Trenton Coles, will be backing them up. The ACC will feature plenty of wide open offense, giving Coles and Pardner plenty of opportunities to see the field.

Free Safety - Ray Vinopal will get the first crack at replacing Jarred Holley. Vinopal had some starts last year, and started a whole season for Michigan as a freshman. Redshirt freshmen, Ryan Lewis and Jevonte Pitts are expected to be his backups.

Strong Safety - Jason Hendricks is back after a big 2012 season. He was the lone Panther on the preseason all ACC team. Former four star recruit and Michigan transfer, Cullen Christian has transitioned to safety and will be his main backup.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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