Pitt Panthers: 2015 Defensive Line Preview

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Nov 16, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back T.J. Logan (8) is tackled after a pass reception by Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Shakir Soto (52) linebacker Todd Thomas (8) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Tar Heels won 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Should provide production with the depth:

I was so torn about where to position Soto: in this tier or the first tier. I ultimately ended up placing him here with the re-addition of Price in the line-up.

Nonetheless, it would be great to see Soto make a strong difference on the field, something he was able to do last season. A starter in all 13 games, he totaled 31 tackles and dragged the opponent down in the backfield once.

In Soto, Pitt has a player that is bold, strong in fundamentals, knowledgeable in the gaps, and vicious in pursuit. I like the odds that Shakir Soto has to be a major difference in the success and rebuilding of the defense.

Scarpinato, a transfer from Michigan State, followed head coach Pat Narduzzi to Pittsburgh after a one year hiatus from football, pursuing his love of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

As a member of the 2013 Michigan State Big Ten championship team, he played in all 14 games with two starts at defensive tackle. A season in which Narduzzi saw Scarpinato rack up 15 tackles on the season.

His presence on the second tier doesn’t incorporate the amount of tackles he can provide or sacks, but rather his ability to be a default leader with his experience and pedigree on the big stages in the Big Ten. Leadership goes a long way in improving a group of players and this will be no exception.

Any production from Scarpinato will be a bonus and I think it is possible for him to put up some creditable numbers.

Taleni is a fairly unheard of player. He made one start last season in the bowl game against Houston. He will provide support at a position that is short on depth and can spell K.K. while not sacrificing too much. He is still raw and needs some grooming in order to be more productive going forward. I like his chances to find the field often in 2015 and provide some flashes.

Moody provides the Panthers with a player who could break out at any moment and I feel as though we will see that moment fairly early in the season.

Last year he played in all 13 games and started two of those. He took part in nine tackles with a sack, and two pass break-ups.

He gained plenty of experience both mentally and physically by getting in games. That playing time resonated with Moody over the off-season and has made him even more hungry to find the field this season. If there is anyone on the team that is ready to make an impact, Justin Moody is the guy.

Next: Decent Depth at Third Tier