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Friday, June 7, 2013
Poll: Pac-12's leading sacker in 2013?

By Ted Miller

We've been reviewing Pac-12 statistical leaders from 2012 who are returning in 2013. Now it's your turn.

We've already polled you on passing, rushing and receiving with 45 percent saying "Other" for rushing, 42 percent saying Oregon's Marcus Mariota for passing and 41 percent favoring USC's Marqise Lee for receiving.

And, 55 percent of you favored "Other" in the poll on who would lead the Pac-12 in tackles.

Now we move on to sacks: Who will lead the Pac-12 in sacks this fall?

There are some great choices.

Nine of the top-10 sack men in 2012 are returning -- and 14 of the top 20. Just two teams, Utah and Washington State, don't welcome back at least one of their top pass-rushers.

And, because five of six pass-rushers who recorded at least 10 sacks will be back this fall, we aren't going to include an "Other" category in this poll. That, unfortunately, clips a top possibility: Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton. (Our polls are set up to only include five choices.)

Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, despite playing inside, led the Pac-12 with 1.08 sacks per game in 2012 -- 13 total. He's got a good supporting cast back around him, and offenses also will have to watch out for outside linebacker Carl Bradford, who had 11.5 sacks.

In fact, Bradford might be a good bet to eclipse Sutton's sack total. Defenses will double-up on Sutton inside, which should make life easier for Bradford on the perimeter.

Speaking of the perimeter, UCLA's Anthony Barr might be the nation's best outside linebacker, even though he just started playing the position last year. He's a likely top-10 NFL draft pick after recording 13.5 sacks in 2012.

USC's Morgan Breslin is transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker after recording 13 sacks last year. He was undersized as an end, so it might prove a positive move for him.

Finally, there's Stanford's Trent Murphy. He's also a potential first-round NFL draft pick after leading the Cardinal, owners of the Pac-12's best defense, with 10 sacks. With a strong cast around him, Murphy's numbers could jump this fall.