I said earlier in the year this group had a lot to prove heading into 2017. I’ll say I was very impressed by the play of Tyrel Dodson, Otaro Alaka, Anthony Hines and Buddy Johnson. With everyone coming back for the 2018 season, look for this group to be even better next year.
With better play up front this allowed the linebackers to play with more freedom to make plays downhill. Dodson and Alaka tallied 168 tackles, 22 of them behind the line of scrimmage. They also combined for 11 sacks and four interceptions. Hines and Johnson contributed 51 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
What this group needs more than anything else is more depth? After the top four, no one else really did anything of note. Expect the new staff to sign two or three linebackers and with Santino Marchiol returning from injury that should help.
If you would’ve told me this group would help lead the Aggie defense to a top 60 ranking in total defense, top 30 in third down defense and only give up 164 yards per game on the ground the record would be better than 7-5.
Why the grade isn’t better is for a couple of reasons? The defense was 112th in red zone defense and 93rd in team passing efficiency defense. If you improve in those two areas and keep the other numbers the same, this defense could be really good.