Virginia Tech Should Move Woody Baron to Defensive End


Sep 27, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Western Michigan Broncos linebacker Devon Brant (11) is sacked by Virginia Tech Hokies linebacker Chase Williams (36) and defensive tackle Woody Baron (60) during the first quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech will enter the 2015 season with what is arguably the best defensive line in college football with all four regular starters plus a healthy Luther Maddy returning for the Hokies. The Hokies will have three seniors on the defensive line next season with Maddy, Dadi Nicolas, and Corey Marshall.

Beyond 2015, the Hokies have plenty of depth at defensive tackle with Nigel Williams and Ricky Walker looking like a dangerous starting defensive tackle duo in 2016 with Vincent Mihota as a backup along with Woody Baron as of right now. Also, Virginia Tech is adding multiple defensive tackles including Harry Lewis, Eric Whitehead, and Darius Fullwood depending on if he is a DE or DT.

However, Baron has the size and athleticism to potentially slide over to defensive end where he may be needed.

The Hokies will need to replace Nicolas after next season, and Dewayne Alford and Seth Dooley currently are the backup defensive ends. Dooley seems to be a guy with a lot of potential, but hasn’t developed the best while Alford has the strength, but isn’t the most proven guy.

Right now, Alford seems like he could be a solid defensive end, but the Hokies have a lot more depth at defensive tackle and that could grow even more if Tim Settle commits to Virginia Tech. Baron’s route to becoming a starter seems a lot more likely at defensive end than defensive tackle, and he is someone that could move outside.

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Woody Baron is seen as a more athletic, speed defensive tackle that uses his athleticism and elusiveness to get by blockers instead of power and strength. Baron was fairly productive rotating in and doing that with 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 0.5 sacks on the season. Baron also had 4 tackles against Cincinnati, and could become the top backup defensive end before the end of the spring.

Baron was a defensive end coming out of high school so he does have the experience to make the move outside. The greater focus with Baron would be improving his speed and athleticism to help make a transition to defensive end smoother. Baron has decent enough speed and athleticism to be a solid defensive end immediately, but definitely has room to grow in those areas.

If Baron doesn’t work at defensive end, the Hokies can always move Baron back to defensive tackle and still have someone whose athleticism is above-average for a college defensive tackle. If Baron does work out at defensive end, the Hokies get the benefit of having a lot more stability at defensive end especially since that will allow Trevon Hill some time to develop into a really good defensive end.

There is very little risk in moving Woody Baron to defensive end, and the Hokies should do this in the spring.

Next: Joey Slye Will Impress in 2015

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