The SEC: The college football powerhouse of the last decade that has pumped the NFL full of some of the highest quality players in the game. As another college football season is coming up, we take a look at the best draft eligible players at each position. The SEC is particularly weak at the Quarterback position, but like always, it has its first round hopefuls a plenty.
Nick Marshall (Auburn): Marshall was one of the driving forces behind a championship contending offense last year and he has all the potential in the world to take himself to the next level. He is a tremendous athlete who can threaten a defense with his feet, but also has the arm strength to attack all levels of a field. He does not have ideal size (6-1, 210) and I question how he can function outside of Gus Malzahn’s tremendous offense, but among a weak group, Marshall stands out as the most talented.
Second Team: Bo Wallace (Ole Miss)
Todd Gurley(UGA): Gurley is a freak of nature at the running back position. He is a huge man (6-1, 232) with incredible strength to break tackles with and speed to burn a defense. He has good vision and is a very hard runner. He needs a bit more polish, but he has the ability to contribute in the passing game. He isn’t a very agile runner, which is fine because he can run through people, but it is to be seen how long that style can keep a player around in the NFL. He also needs to prove he can stay healthy. He has all the talent in the world and if he is healthy, he is one of the few backs in this class that could threaten the first round.
Mike Davis(South Carolina): Though he doesn’t have Gurley’s size, Davis is still a very strong back at 5-9, 213. Not only is he strong, he as very good speed, acceleration and is also very agile for back with his bulk. He is a polished receiver and a true every down back. While I don’t think he has the tremendous upside Gurley has, Davis offers a much more complete back right now.
Second Team: Keith Marshall (UGA), Kenyan Drake (Alabama)
Sammie Coates (Auburn): Sammie Coates is a tremendous athlete with very good size (6-2, 201). He has speed to burn, very good strength as a runner and can go up for the ball with the best of them. He isn’t incredibly agile and he needs to improve his route running, but the sky is the limit for Coates.
Amari Cooper (Alabama): Cooper is another tremendous athlete with fantastic movement skills. He has some of the best acceleration I have seen and he can take it to the house from anywhere on the field. His catching ability needs a ton of work and he is not physical at all at the catch point despite tremendous athletic ability. All of his flaws are mental and he can work them out, he has a bright future.
Second Team: DeAndrew White (Alabama), Christion Jones (Alabama)
Jay Rome (UGA): In a weaker group, Rome stands out as a very good athlete at the tight end position. He has flashed the ability to use that athletic ability to impact as a receiver which fits perfectly in the NFL’s new age. It is too be seen how Rome can play with Arthur Lynch in the NFL. If Rome can translate his ability to the field, he could be a popular name come next March.
Second Team: Jake McGee(UF)
Cedric Ogbuehi(Texas A&M): Another year, another stud offensive tackle out of College Station. Ogbuehi has all the tools to be a franchise left tackle with great size (6-5, 300), length and foot quickness. His functional strength is a question as it is unproven, especially as a pass protector, but Ogbuehi will have an entire opportunity to display his talent at left tackle this year.
La’elCollins (LSU): Six foot five and 315 pounds of kicking ass. Collins is a hulk of a man who moves downhill in the running game with violence and is a wall of a man in pass protection. His balance and quickness are not very good, but he is a great power blocker with impactful strength. If he can improve his balance, he could be quite the player.
Second Team: Austin Shepherd (Alabama), Corey Robinson (South Carolina)
Arie Kouandjio (Alabama): Another man in a long line hulking offensive linemen, Kouandjio has all the tools to be a next level guard. He has tremendous strength and plays the game with a level of aggression that is fun to watch. He is not quick on his feet, but his size (6-5, 315) and length make him impossible to get around. In the right scheme, he could be a very good guard.
AJ Cann (South Carolina): Another powerful blocker out of the SEC (Who knew?), Cann has plenty of size (6-4, 318) and strength to dominate opponents at the college level. Though I am not a huge fan of his movement ability, I think a man of his skill set has a place in the NFL. If he can clean up his footwork, I think he could be a starter in the NFL.
Second Team: Alex Kozan (Auburn), Max Garcia (UF)
Reese Dismukes (Auburn): Dismukes is arguably the top center in this entire class and it is not hard to see why. Not only does he have great movement skills, but he is very strong. He is a top notch run blocker, but needs to show more in the passing game, simply due to the offense he is in.
Second Team: Mike Matthews (Texas A&M)
Interior Defensive Line
Leon Orr (UF): Orr is a massive presence on the defensive line (6-5, 315) and it really shows up the way he occupies an offensive line. However, he moves very well for his size and flashes good penetrating ability. He needs to improve his leverage, but I like the tools that he can bring to the table.
Gabe Wright (Auburn): Gabe Wright is a penetrating defensive tackle who does a great job of using quickness, leverage and a high motor to disrupt plays in the backfield. He is not an otherworldly athlete, but he wins and wreaks havoc with technical prowess. There is not much he can improve on, but I think he can be a very solid NFL player.
Second Team: Brandon Ivory (Alabama), JT Surratt (South Carolina)
Dante Fowler (UF): Dante Fowler is a freak athlete with great speed and strength at the position. He can disrupt the passing and running game from all over the field and can play multiple positions in the NFL. He needs to work on his pad level and using his hands well, but Fowler’s upside is incredible.
Shane Ray (Mizzou): Ray is a great athlete with exciting burst off the line. He has a decent frame at 6’3” but I hope he can add strength and size to his current 245 pound body as he tends to get washed out against bigger blockers. I love his upside, but Ray still has a ways to go from being a fully rounded player.
Second Team: Bud Dupree (Kentucky), Ray Drew (UGA)
Bednarick McKinney (Miss. State): McKinney is a very good athlete at the linebacker position. He moves very well and has the length to defeat blocks against the run. He has all the potential in the world, I just hope he can improve his overall awareness to take his game to the next level.
Denzel Nkemdiche (Ole Miss): Nkemdiche is a smart, fluid linebacker who can be found all around the ball. He moves very well in coverage and can make plays against the backside of running plays. He is incredibly small for a linebacker (5’11”, 207), but he has the movement skills and the smarts to be a good player at the next level.
Ramik Wilson (UGA): Wilson is a good athlete and a very strong tackler. He flashes a good ability to diagnose plays and attack, both against the run and the pass. He needs to take better angles and clean up his tackling, but I really like his overall game as a linebacker.
Second Team: Trey Depriest (Alabama), Antonio Morrison (UF), Kris Frost (Auburn)
Jalen Collins (LSU): One of two very talented “Jalens” on the LSU football team. Collins has very good size (6-2, 195), straight-line speed and overall athletic ability. He needs to play a little bit more physical and has to improve his ball skills, but Collins is a big time athlete with big time potential.
Jalen Mills (LSU):The other “Jalen”, Mills is another great athlete at the cornerback position. He moves well with receivers and does a good job with the ball in the air. He must begin to play his size (6-1, 185) more consistently, but the arrow is pointing up for Mills.
Second Team: Deshazor Everette (Texas A&M), Justin Coleman (Tennessee)
Landon Collins (Alabama): Collins is a great athlete who can play any position in the secondary and play well though I prefer him closer to the line of scrimmage. He is a strong tackler and does a good job covering underneath. He needs to take better angles in coverage and against the run, but he has flashed the same ability that has put many other Alabama safeties in the first round.
Corey Moore (UGA) At 6-2, 214 pounds, it is easy to confuse Moore with a linebacker and his play isn’t so different. He is a strong, violent tackler who can impact against the run but can excel covering underneath. I am not a huge fan of his instincts in coverage and his aggression, but there is no doubt the tools of a very good strong safety are there.
Second Team: Ronald Martin (LSU), Jermaine Whitehead (Auburn)
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