Transfers have depleted the Arizona defense at inside linebacker and safety. As a result, the Wildcats’ defensive linemen, edge rushers and cornerbacks will have to perform at a high level for the overall unit to be effective.

The edge-rush group has a breakout candidate in Jalen Harris. The cornerback room boasts a pair of all-Pac-12 possibilities in Lorenzo Burns and Christian Roland-Wallace.

Yet the defensive line might be the best, deepest position group on that side of the ball.

Let’s start with the key incumbents. Defensive tackle Trevon Mason joined the team last year from Navarro Community College. He started the final 11 games and finished with 44 tackles, including six for losses, and two passes defensed. By season’s end, Mason (6-5, 305) looked like a potential all-league performer.

Myles Tapusoa, another JC transfer, wasn’t quite as impactful, finishing with 12 tackles. But he became more effective after getting in better shape and can occupy blockers to make life easier for linebackers and safeties. Tapusoa is listed at 6-1, 345.

The UA staff has high expectations for sophomore Kyon Barrs, who notched 13 tackles in 11 games — including a career-high four in the season finale at Arizona State. Barrs was a late addition to the class of 2019 and has natural size at 6-2, 304. He seems to fit the mold of what new defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads wants in his base 3-4 scheme.

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