This is the third in a series looking at the best position tandems in the Pac-12 taking into account both college production and pro potential. Today it is the best pair of defensive linemen in the Pac-12.
The best: USC
The duo: Leonard Williams and Morgan Breslin
The reasoning: It was pretty cut and dry when it came to deciding on the Pac-12's best offensive pairings. On the other side of the ball, however, things get a little dicey.
On the defensive line, there is a very strong case to be made for productive Stanford ends Henry Anderson and Ben Gardner, who combined for 27.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks last season. But Breslin and Williams were more productive (33 tackles for loss, 21 sacks) and have stronger NFL prospects.
Williams is well on his way to being the next elite USC interior lineman, the kind of disruptive presence that assistant coach Ed Orgeron always seems to find. Most intriguing is how Williams is built, longer and sleeker than your typically thick 270-pound college defender, almost like J.J. Watt at Wisconsin. After a brilliant college debut, Williams can be a big-time player on Saturdays and Sundays.
Breslin is nowhere near the specimen Williams is, but made up for it with relentless intensity in his first year of FBS competition. The idea of the silent assassin is played out, but coaches and teammates swear that Breslin, a junior-college transfer from Walnut Creek, Calif., barely says a word. When I asked Williams the most Breslin has ever talked in a five or 10-minute span, the 6-foot-5 Floridian looked up in thought, laughed and replied, "Let's go?"
Next up in this series: Offensive line.