All-SEC team: Best players at every position

Fournette gets the nod over Henry, as Steve Palazzolo breaks down the top talent in the SEC.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

All-SEC team: Best players at every position


With the regular season and championship games in the rearview, we’re taking a look at each conference to identify which players stood out the most at their position in 2015.

Quarterback: Brandon Allen, Arkansas (+23.9)

After a slow start, Allen was the SEC’s best passer, highlighted by monster games against Ole Miss and Mississippi State down the stretch.

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2nd Team: Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (+20.2)

Running Back: Leonard Fournette, LSU (+32.8)

We know Henry has thrust himself into Heisman contention with a strong showing down the stretch, but with the entire season taken into consideration, Fournette has been outstanding in his own right. He led the nation with 77 missed tackles forced, and when stacking up against Power-5 competition, he forced 61 to tie with Henry, though he did so on 83 fewer carries.

2nd Team: Derrick Henry, Alabama (+21.9)

Fullback: Chandler Cox, Auburn (+1.2)

As fullbacks continue to disappear, Cox led the SEC with 315 snaps and a +5.0 blocking grade.

Wide Receivers: Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss (+14.7) and Drew Morgan, Arkansas (+15.4)

Treadwell bounced back nicely from injury to lead the SEC in receiving yards and forcing 16 missed tackles, good for third in the conference. Morgan burst onto the SEC scene to lead the league with 10 touchdowns on his way to posting the top receiving grade against power-5 competition.

2nd Team: Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (+9.5) and Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina (+5.6)

Slot: Fred Ross, Mississippi State (+11.3)

Ross led the SEC in both receptions (76) and yards (867) from the slot while also leading with 643 yards after the catch, good for fourth in the nation.

2nd Team: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M (+5.3)

Tight End: Hunter Henry, Arkansas (+9.3)

Edging out the better blocker in Adams, Henry lead SEC tight ends in receptions and yards. He was a key intermediate target for Arkansas, catching 16-of-23 targets for 271 yards.

2nd Team: Jerrell Adams, South Carolina (+13.0)

Tackles: Shon Coleman, Auburn (+15.7) and Dominick Jackson, Alabama (+18.2)

Coleman earns the nod at left tackle, in part to Laremy Tunsil only playing 376 snaps, but he only gave up 11 pressures all season on 304 attempts. Jackson gave up 12 pressures of his own while leading the conference with a +12.2 run blocking grade.

2nd Team: Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss (+14.0) and Avery Young, Auburn (+1.6)

Guards: Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas (+22.0) and Braden Smith, Auburn (+18.4)

Tretola is the top-graded guard in the conference after grading second a year ago and his +17.1 run blocking grades also leads the way. Smith ranks right behind him at +15.1 in the run game while allowing 11 total pressures on the year.

Center: Mike Matthews, Texas A&M (+14.2)

Our top-graded center against power-5 competition, Matthews lead the conference with a pass blocking efficiency of 99.2 (five pressures on 487 attempts) while ranking fourth as a run blocker at +6.3.

2nd Team: Ryan Kelly, Alabama (+12.6)

Defense

At PFF, we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles), and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).

Defensive interior – ends: Jonathan Bullard, Florida (+52.3) and Chris Jones, Mississippi State (+46.5)

The nation’s top interior defensive lineman against the run at +44.4, Bullard added seven sacks, six hits, and 17 hurries to also post a +8.3 grade as a pass rusher. Jones was the best interior rusher in the conference with a +28.8 grade (40 pressures on 287 rushes) while ranking fifth against the run at +17.4.

2nd Team: Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (+32.5) and Jonathan Allen, Alabama (+24.7)

Defensive Interior – nose tackle: Jarran Reed, Alabama (+39.3)

Reed ranks right behind Bullard with a +34.1 run grade that ranks second in the nation and he’s shown well as a pass rusher at +5.0 (two sacks, one hit, 16 hurries).

2nd Team: Caleb Brantley, Florida (+23.2)

Edge Rushers: Derek Barnett, Tennessee (+45.4) and Myles Garrett, Texas A&M (+42.8)

The two super sophomores lived up to their hype once again as Barnett and Garrett rank second and fifth respectively among the nation’s edge rushers. Barnett’s +34.4 pass rush grade ranks third in the country (nine sacks, nine hits, 36 hurries) and Garrett two slots behind him at +32.4 (10 sacks, nine hits, 18 hurries).

2nd Team: Leonard Floyd, Georgia (+39.0), Charles Harris, Missouri (+39.1)

Linebacker: Kentrell Brothers, Missouri (+36.6), Reggie Ragland, Alabama (+29.1)

Brothers has been a force against the run as his +29.1 grade ranks second in the nation and he leads with 78 total stops. Ragland brings a strong all-around game to the table as he grades at +10.7 against the run, +8.2 in coverage, and +9.3 as a rusher (three sacks, five hits, 10 hurries on 75 attempts).

2nd Team: Reuben Foster, Alabama (+19.9), Josh Forrest, Kentucky (+17.9)

Cornerback: Jalen Tabor, Florida (+10.9) and De’Vante Harris, Texas A&M (+11.9)

There were a lot of good candidates at the top, but Tabor and Harris posted the top coverage grades among SEC corners at +12.1 and +11.9 respectively. Tabor led with 12 passes defensed to go with four interceptions while Harris got his hands on seven passes while allowing an NFL passer rating of 59.7 into his coverage.

2nd Team: Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida (+9.7) and Taveze Calhoun, Mississippi State (+8.9)

Slot: Mike Hilton, Ole Miss (+16.6)

Hilton moved around for the Ole Miss defense as his +11.5 coverage grade led the conference’s safeties while allowing only 0.70 yards/cover snap, good for sixth among all slot players.

2nd Team: Minkah Fitzpatrick (+8.0)

Safety: Marcus Maye, Florida (+21.0) and A.J. Stamps, Kentucky (+14.0)

Maye has been a consistent PFF Dream Teamer this season as he’s played well in coverage (+11.4) and against the run (+9.7). Stamps is tied for eighth with a coverage grade of +9.1 and he’s yet to grade “in the red” in any game this season.

2nd Team: Donovan Wilson, Texas A&M (+13.5), Jamal Adams, LSU, (+8.6)

Kicker: Daniel Carlson, Auburn (+2.2 FG Grade)

Carlson has made 22 of 26 field goals including four of five from 50+ yards.

2nd Team: Landon Ard, South Carolina (+1.6)

Punter: JK Scott, Alabama (-4.4)

Scott has landed 19 punts inside the 20 while boasting the top single hang time in the conference at 5.2.

2nd Team: Kevin Phillips, Auburn (-7.4)

Returner: Antonio Callaway, Florida (+10.5)

The true freshman capped a strong season with a punt return for a touchdown in the SEC Championship, his second score of the year as he’s averaged 15.5 yards per return on punts.

2nd Team: Cameron Sutton, Tennessee (+8.5)

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

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