During the 2022 season, North Carolina’s defense got off to a slow start despite the team going 9-1 in the first 10 games. There were problems with the defense not getting much pressure on the opposing quarterback and giving up too many big plays.
Going into this season, the task is on Gene Chizik to fix that and not waste an offense that will be led by Heisman Trophy hopeful Drake Maye.
Among the returners for Chizik on that defense is edge rusher Kaimon Rucker who had a big year in 2022. Now, going into this season Rucker is among the highest-graded edge rushers returning in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Pro Football Focus had Rucker No. 2 with a grade of 84.1:
The only player ahead of Rucker on the list is Miami’s Akheem Mesidor who graded out at 87.1 last season.
Rucker along with linebacker Cedric Gray will look to carry North Carolina’s front seven. It’s clear the Tar Heels have to get better at rushing the passer and Rucker will have to play a large role in doing that.
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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire