PFF’s Dream Team: Best players at every position

Steve Palazzolo selects the top performers at every position heading into Week 3 of the season.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

(AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

PFF’s Dream Team: Best players at every position

The PFF College Football Dream Team is back for its second iteration, with a few changes from last week’s version. The goal here is to use our grading to put together the best team college football can offer. The team won’t be based simply on grades, as last year’s efforts are still considered as well as level of competition and recent trends. So here’s a look at the PFF College Football Dream Team as we head into Week 4 of the season.


Jared Goff, Cal +15.1

Goff returns to the team after an excellent performance against Texas on a national stage. He graded at +5.2 on the night and he remains the top-graded QB through three weeks at +15.1.

Running Backs

Leonard Fournette, LSU +8.5

Is there any surprise to see Fournette on this list after his performance last week? He ran over, around, and through the Auburn defense, picking up 228 rushing yards, 163 of which came after contact. He was impressive last year as a true freshman, but looks even more agile and explosive this season, a dangerous combination of skills that our own Sam Monson broke down earlier in the week.

Paul Perkins, UCLA +7.7

With true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen coming back down to Earth after a great Week 1, Perkins has carried the UCLA offense to the tune of 413 rushing yards and 7.4 yards per carry. He put up 219 last weekend against BYU, including 178 after contact while forcing 10 missed tackles.

Wide Receivers

JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC, +6.3 receiving

JuJu returns after putting up another 153 receiving yards on eight catches against Stanford, 80 of which came after the catch. He continues to show up as one of the nation’s most dynamic playmakers.

Will Fuller, Notre Dame +4.4 receiving

Still good for at least one explosive play every week, Fuller put together his third straight 100-yard game as he picked up 131 on six catches against Georgia Tech.

Corey Coleman, Baylor +5.6 receiving

Baylor was on a bye, last week’s analysis stands: Sometimes it looks like Baylor’s offense is just playing Madden, sending fast receivers deep and chucking it up, and Coleman is one of the reason’s it looks so easy sometimes. He leads the nation with 360 receiving yards on only 11 catches, good for an astounding 32.7 yards per reception.

Aaron Burbridge, Michigan State, +9.0 receiving

We’re adding a fourth wide receiver to the team this week because Burbridge has burst on the scene and become one of the nation’s most dependable options. He has 338 yards on 21 catches (18.5 yards per rec) to go with three touchdowns and only one drop.

Tight End

O.J. Howard, Alabama, +10.5

Howard remains the tight end for the second week in a row after a solid outing against Ole Miss. He’s been one of the nation’s best run blockers at +5.7 while hauling in 11 receptions for 175 yards.

Offensive Tackles

Tyrell Crosby, Oregon +13.9

Crosby returns to the Dream Team as he continues to do the job in the run game at +13.1 while posting a reasonable grade in pass protection at +2.4.

Jack Conklin, Michigan State +11.7

One of our top OTs last season, Conklin is off to a good start again with a +6.2 grade in the run game to go with a +4.6 pass blocking grade. He is yet to allow a pressure this season.


Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas, +16.1

Our top-graded run blocking guard had yet another strong day against Texas Tech to put his run blocking grade to +13.1. He’s allowed one hurry on 101 pass blocking attempts.

Jordan Walsh, Iowa, +12.1

Both guards remain intact as Walsh had yet another strong performance against Pitt. He still has yet to surrender a pressure in pass protection while grading at +8.5 in the run game.


Matt Skura, Duke +10.0

A new addition to the team, Skura has been excellent in the run game (+6.4) while only allowing one pressure on 114 attempts.

Edge Rushers

Charles Harris, Missouri, +15.4

Harris continued his strong play with a +1.2 effort against UConn including a sack, two hits, and a hurry. He is now grading at +10.6 as a pass rusher with 14 total pressures on 79 rushes.

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M +14.9

It was only a matter of time before Garrett made his way onto the team, and a dominant performance against Nevada is just what he needed. He now has five sacks, one hit, and six hurries on only 68 rushes while showing well against the run at +2.7.

Defensive Interior

DeForest Buckner, Oregon, +22.9

Even though it was against Georgia State, Buckner was unblockable last weekend on his way to a +12.3 grade. He may be the nation’s best defensive player through three weeks.

Adolphus Washington, Ohio State +15.5

A new addition to the team, Washington has had three stellar games and last week’s effort against Northern Illinois was his best yet as he notched a sack, two hits, two hurries and three run stops. He’s been good in all facets, +9.3 against the run and +5.8 as a pass rusher.


Kentrell Brothers, Missouri, +14.9

Add seven more stops to Brothers’ stat sheet, putting him with an absurd 28 total stops through three games. He’s performed well in the run game at +11.0 but also in coverage at +4.0.

Steven Daniels, Boston College +14.9

A huge game against Florida State puts Daniels on the team as he graded at +6.9 with five stops against the Seminoles. For the season, his +6.9 run grade ranks fifth while his +5.2 coverage grade comes in second in the country.

Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame +10.8

Answering all of our preseason questions about his tackling, Smith has yet to miss one in 27 attempts this season. He makes plays all over the field, whether in coverage (+4.8) or in the run game (+5.6), and Notre Dame hasn’t even tapped into his strength as a blitzer as he’s only rushed five times all season.


Corn Elder, Miami +10.3

Cornerback grades can fluctuate week to week, but it’s hard to overlook what Elder did against Nebraska. He posted a +6.6 coverage grade while knocking away two passes and intercepting another. He’s allowed only three catches for 19 yards on nine attempts this season.

Cameron Sutton, Tennessee +5.6

Sutton maintains his spot after playing only 23 snaps against Western Carolina. His body of work from last year into this season is right up there with any cornerback in the nation.


Jeremy Cash, Duke, +15.8                                                          

Not only did Cash re-secure a spot on the team, he did it with a bang as he graded at +5.7 with six stops against Northwestern. He brings linebacker-type run stop ability at +7.9 while only surrendering one catch into his coverage this season.

Nate Gerry, Nebraska, +6.8

Gerry maintains his spot as the Dream Team’s coverage safety after another solid outing against Miami that saw him pick up his first pass defensed of the season.

| Senior Analyst

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

  • jdrch

    No Vernon Hargreaves III at CB? Wow.


      Over rated