OLB is easily advantage UW. Tryon and Bowman were both voted 2nd-team All-Conference this past season. No returning OLB’s from Oregon made the All-Conference teams.
ILB is an unknown. Flowe is a stud and he could start for them as a true Freshman but he will still just be a true Freshman. Unless he has a unique and advanced football IQ, he’s not going to be all-world right away. He will make a lot of mistakes, over run plays, bite on run fakes, etc. Sewell is too fat to play ILB. He gets gassed too easily and a big Poly kid like him is never going to stay lean enough to stay at ILB. His genetics won’t allow it, especially when his metabolism slows down in college as everyone’s does. He doesn’t count as an ILB until proven otherwise. Other than those two guys, they have Sampson Niu and Isaac Slade-Matautia. I haven’t seen either prove to be better than Ulofoshio or Sirmon so we’ll see what happens.
Safety is another we’ll see. Asa Turner and Cam Williams after another year of development looks like it could be an elite tandem. I definitely don’t think anyone can say Oregon’s safeties will for sure be better.
Thib made the AP All-Pac 12 team. No one would take Bowman over him.
I do like the upside of our defense. If multiple guys can make leaps (like we saw in 15 & 16) then we could have a better D than Oregon.