3 - Defensive line
Speaking of which, the defensive line has surprisingly held up better than everyone thought, even with a pair of projected starters or high-end role players shelved for the season. We already discussed Stills, but even guys like Leki Fotu have put up serviceable numbers, with the fourth-year defensive tackle tallying 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, and a quarterback hit.
Roy Lopez joined the Arizona Cardinals when the team needed to bolster its thin depth on the line, and he may have a future as a solid rotational piece. Kevin Strong has also been a sound contributor, and he may also have a future in the desert as a role slash rotational player along with Jonathan Ledbetter.
While the Redbirds defensive line that you see today probably lacks future full-time starters sans Dante Stills, all the aforementioned names have shown they can at least spot start if injuries hit the position hard. And that’s far more than we expected out of this group in 2023, so let’s hope they can keep it up.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)