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Four Players That Will Be Difference Makers For Oklahoma’s Defense In 2016

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What became a huge benefit to the NFL left a huge hole in Oklahoma's defense as Zack Sanchez, Charles Tapper, Eric Striker and Dominique Alexander have all moved on to the next phase of their football careers. Now the Sooners are looking at a rebuilding phase in 2016 and these four players will be the key to holding the OU defense together in 2016.

Defensive Tackle Charles Walker | Walker has played in 20 games over the last two seasons (where he's racked up 46 tackles and 6.5 sacks) but will be making his first start in 2016. A Second Team All-Conference selection in 2015, Walker should be the leader along Oklahoma's defensive line this fall. At 6-2/299, Walker could easily be one of Oklahoma's top draft prospects next spring as well.

Linebacker Jordan Evans | With twenty-three starts over the last three seasons (32 total game appearances) Evans is now Oklahoma's most experienced linebacker. Also, a Second Team All-Conference selection in 2015, Evans has 188 career tackles to his name.

Cornerback Jordan Thomas | At 6-0/187 Thomas has the size to challenge bigger receivers in the conference. His athleticism and speed will provide him the ability to be one of the top corners in the conference. A First Team All-Big 12 selection in 2015, Thomas recorded five interceptions last fall and will be the anchor in Oklahoma's secondary in 2016.

Safety Steven Parker | Moving into a full-time starting role in 2015. Parker accounted for 60 tackles and 1.5 sacks last fall. He's got 91 total tackles in 26 total game appearances and versatile enough to provide support against both the run and the pass.