PFF Dream Team: Best players at every position

Following one week of play, Steve Palazzolo assembles his ideal roster from the top players around the country.

| 1 month ago
(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

PFF Dream Team: Best players at every position

Welcome back to the PFF College Dream Team.

The team consists of the best players in the country, inspired heavily –though not strictly – from PFF’s play-by-play grading. It’s a fluid weekly list, closely aligned with our top-graded players with some context sprinkled in with regard to competition level, skill set and most recent performances. Expect a lot of movement early in the season as the sample sizes are small and it may only be a handful of plays that determine Dream Team status.

With that said, we’re starting with a clean slate, so here’s the first iteration of the 2016 Dream Team:


Dallas Davis, South Alabama

Whether he was leading receivers with pinpoint passes over the middle of the field, leapfrogging opposing tacklers in the open field, or dropping the ball in a bucket in the end zone for a touchdown, Davis did it all in leading South Alabama to an upset win over Mississippi State. Sustaining his spot on the Dream Team will be a difficult task, but at least for one week, he’s earned the right to be the starting quarterback.

Running backs

Curtis Samuel, Ohio State

Our jack-of-all-trades on the offensive side, Samuel was part running back and part slot receiver in week one and he made plays no matter where he lined up. He had 177 yards on nine catches to go with 85 yards on the ground and two total touchdowns, keep an eye on Samuel as the movable chess piece that Urban Meyer offenses covet.

Jamaal Williams, BYU

Williams ran through and around the Arizona defense to the tune of 11 missed tackles on 29 carries and that’s not including a monster run that got negated by a penalty. It was a coming-out party for Williams who will be challenged by a tough Utah front-seven this week.

Wide receivers

Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech

Ford was ranked No. 62 in the PFF College 101 coming into the season and he was Virginia Tech’s go-to guy in Week 1. He caught 11 of his 18 targets for 117 yards and a score while showing off his downfield ball skills on fades and back shoulder throws.

Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois

Golladay did it all for Northern Illinois as he caught 10 passes for 144 yards and ran for 82 yards on his six carries. He even casually one-handed this catch on his way to a big gain.

Golladay 1-Hand

Zay Jones, East Carolina

Jones stretched the field for East Carolina while also doing fine work in the short passing game, finishing with 10 catrches on his 10 targets for 180 yards and a touchdown. He and new quarterback Phillip Nelson had good chemistry on the deep ball, something to watch out for this season as the competition stiffens.

Tight end

Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin

Aside from boasting a beautiful Italian last name, Fumagalli was also the nation’s top receiving threat among tight ends as he got open at the intermediate and deep levels against LSU while also doing damage on screens. He was solid in the run game as well, and he’s one to watch as one of the nation’s emerging tight ends.

Offensive tackles

Tariq Cole, Rutgers

Cole put himself on the map with a strong all-around outing against Washington, looking good in the run game at both levels and to go with a clean outing in pass protection on 45 attempts

Jamarco Jones, Ohio State

Replacing first-round offensive tackle Taylor Decker, Jones picked right back up with one of the nation’s top run-blocking grades while not surrendering a pressure on his 39 pass blocking snaps. 


Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech

Teller was kept off the National Team of the Week due to competition levels in week one, but it was a dominating effort against Liberty that has earned him a spot on the Dream Team. The No. 75 player in the PFF College 101 was dominant at the point of attack in the running game and perfect in pass protection.

Chris Borrayo, Cal

Borrayo has long been the lone bright spot on a weak offensive line at Cal and he showed it again with a strong week against Hawaii down in Australia. He boasts the nation’s No. 2 run-blocking grade after the first week though he has to improve in pass protection in order to maintain his spot on the team in the coming weeks.


Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia

Orlosky lived up to his No. 60 ranking in the PFF College 101 as he created movement in the running game against Missouri and simply didn’t miss many blocks. He was near-perfect in the running game while surrendering one pressure on the afternoon. He has a chance to be a wire-to-wire Dream Teamer.

Edge rushers

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

The nation’s top defensive player played like it in week one with a sack, three QB hits, and seven hurries in his dismantling of UCLA LT Conor McDermott. Garrett posted the top grade among the nation’s edge rushers and he’ll be difficult to move off his spot on the Dream Team.

Garrett Sack

Carl Lawson, Auburn

A healthy Lawson is usually a dominant player and he was on point in week one against Clemson with a disruptive performance as a pass rusher. The one QB hit and three hurries don’t tell the entire story as he had another bunch of quick wins in the passing game that were negated by Clemson’s quick-hitting attack. Look for those to turn into pressures in the coming weeks.

Defensive interior

Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA

Returning with a bang from injury, Vanderdoes was rarely blocked by Texas A&M’s offensive line as he used his quick hands to shed blocks and disrupt the run and pass games. He finished with five hurries on 36 rushes and four run stops.

Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Allen played all over the defensive line, but we’re slotting him in here on the interior. He was the best player on the field in a game loaded with stars as he picked up two sacks, three hurries, and a batted pass while providing excellent run defense.


Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

Welcome back Zach Cunningham who slid onto the Dream Team a few times last season. The No. 38 player in the PFF College 101 was all over the field finishing with five stops in the running game and three against the pass.

Troy Dye, Oregon

What a debut for the true freshman who was flying around and making plays in all facets of the game. He picked up two sacks as a pass rusher, though one was negated by a facemask penalty, while finishing with seven total stops on the day as he knifed into the backfield in the run game and made his mark in the short passing game.

Justin Arndt, West Virginia

It was a nice all-around effort who was more about blowing up blocks for his teammates in the running game than filling up the stat sheet though he did pick up a sack, QB hit, hurry and a batted pass as a pass-rusher.


Tre’Davious White, LSU

White turned the game around for LSU with a pick-six, but that was only part of his afternoon that saw him targeted eight times, surrendering only three catches for 20 yards. He added three stops and opposing quarterbacks posted a 6.3 passer rating when throwing his way.

Joshua Holsey, Auburn

Auburn had few answers for Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams but Holsey was one of them. He didn’t allow a catch on his two targets against Williams, knocking both passes away, and he also picked up an interception while surrendering only one catch for five yards on his five targets.


Malik Hooker, Ohio State

Hooker’s one-handed interception almost earned him a spot on the team by itself, but it was one of two interceptions in an outstanding first career start. His 93.7 coverage grade led the nation in week one.

Malik Hooker INT

Marcus Williams, Utah

Williams was a game-changers against Southern Utah, forcing and recovering a fumble, intercepting a pass and deflecting one more – all on only 48 snaps. He finished with the top grade in the nation against the run and No. 4 mark in coverage.

| 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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