PFF’s Dream Team: Best players at every position

Steve Palazzolo selects the top performers at every position heading into Week 6 of the season.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

PFF’s Dream Team: Best players at every position

The PFF Dream Team is our way of putting together the very best college football players at every position, with this season’s grades and last year’s efforts all taken into consideration. Recent trends and level of competition are also factored in, as we look to highlight the players that are shaping the landscape of college football this year. A number of players are starting to become regulars on the Dream Team, while other positions are a revolving door.

Here’s a look at how the PFF Dream Team shapes up heading into Week 6.



Jared Goff, Cal, +24.3

It’s going to be difficult to unseat Goff from the Dream Team helm, as he put together another strong outing against Washington State last week. He’s been impressive in many facets, but his nation-best +9.6 grade under pressure really stands out.


Running backs

Leonard Fournette, LSU, +14.2

We were expecting a mismatch when Fournette and LSU went up against Eastern Michigan’s run defense, and that’s just what we got. Fournette is still the class of the running back position, and perhaps the stat of the week is his 480 yards after contact—more than all but 23 running backs have total rushing yards, and LSU had one of their games cancelled.

Ezekial Elliott, Ohio State, +13.0

A monster performance against Indiana thrust Elliott back into a spot among the nation’s best, as he ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Uneven quarterback play has held back a talented Ohio State team offensively, and this is the kind of performance they may need from Elliott a few more times going forward.


Wide Receivers

Josh Doctson, TCU, +12.7 receiving

Another 129 receiving yards and two touchdowns ensured Doctson’s spot on the team for another week. His +12.7 receiving grade is the best in the country, while he ranks second in both yards (722) and touchdowns (eight).

Corey Coleman, Baylor, +9.2 receiving

Coleman picked up another two touchdowns against Texas Tech last weekend, bringing him to 11 on the season to lead the FBS. He is averaging a cool 23.8 yards per reception, and now has more touchdowns than incompletions thrown his way (10).

JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC, +8.6 receiving

Fresh off a bye, our notes on Smith-Schuster from last week: USC’s offense looked like they were playing at a different speed than Arizona State’s defense, and Smith-Schuster was a big part of it. He picked up another 103 yards on only five catches, as he’s now averaging 19.9 yards per reception with six touchdowns on the season.


Tight end

Jerell Adams, South Carolina, +13.0

A subpar game from the incumbent (Alabama’s O.J. Howard) opened the door for Adams, who has been the nation’s best run blocking tight end this season. He’s also mixed in some big-play ability, averaging 13.7 yards per reception on his 12 catches.


Offensive tackles

Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, +14.9

Crosby’s play has tapered off in recent weeks, but he maintains his spot on the team and still has the nation’s best run blocking grade at +14.3.

Jack Conklin, Michigan State, +12.1

Despite an injury, Conklin maintains his spot for at least one more week. He was one of the premier tackles in college football last season, and was off to a similar start. However, due to the injury, this spot is up for grabs in coming weeks.



Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas, +18.9

Tretola no longer has the top run blocking grade in the country, but at +13.7, he’s still doing well in that department. His +4.6 pass block grade ranks 10th, as he’s surrendered one sack and one hurry on 161 pass blocking attempts.

Joe Thuney, NC State, +18.6

Simply getting the job done every week for NC State, our No. 10 returning ACC player coming into the season has been the conference’s best guard. He’s grading at +14.2 in the run game and +3.5 as a pass blocker.



Matt Skura, Duke, +19.9

Last week’s center had a nice game against Boston College at +4.9. He rarely loses in the run game, as his +13.2 grade attests, and he’s given up only one hurry on 184 pass blocking attempts.


Edge rushers

Joey Bosa, Ohio State, +29.3

Despite missing the first game of the season, Bosa has already vaulted to the top of our rankings with a +29.3 overall grade. He’s put together three straight dominant outings at +8.9, +8.1, and +9.5, and now has a sack, 10 hits, and 11 hurries on 131 rushes to go with a +14.8 grade against the run.

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, +22.1

Just edging Penn State DE Carl Nassib is Garrett, who leads all Power-5 edge rushers with a +15.5 pass rush grade. He’s picked up seven sacks, two hits, and 10 hurries on his 128 rushes while improving against the run at +5.0. He’s been a big part of Texas A&M’s strong start.


Defensive interior

DeForest Buckner, Oregon, +39.5

Another double-digit grade has Buckner pulling away from his competition among interior defensive linemen. He posted a +11.4 against Colorado last week, with two hits and five hurries to go with seven stops. For the season, he has the top pass rushing grade at +22.5, and his +16.8 run grade ranks third.

Kenny Clark, UCLA, +29.9

Clark returns, as he has the best run grade in the country at +22.4. He handles every type of block thrown his way, and he’s added some pass rushing disruption to his game this season at +6.2.



Steven Daniels, Boston College, +21.7

Daniels has made an impact in all facets this season, as his +6.1 coverage grade ranks fourth among linebackers, while his +11.8 grade against the run ranks third. He’s added a sack, two hits, and five hurries for a solid +3.4 pass rush grade, as well.

Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame, +18.7

Providing similar all-around play is Smith, whose +7.1 coverage grade ranks second. He’s only missed two tackles this season (after missing 18 a year ago), boosting his grade against the run at +9.4. He’s also one of the best blitzers in the country, though he hasn’t been used in that area often (17 rushes).

Kentrell Brothers, Missouri, +17.0

After a torrid start, Brothers has slowed down a bit in recent weeks, but he’s still leading the nation with 36 stops. His +12.2 grade against the run ranks second, while showing well in coverage at +4.8.



Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, +11.1

The numbers jump off the page for Lewis, who has allowed only six catches for 46 yards on 26 targets this season (23.1 percent). He’s deflected a nation-high eight passes, and intercepted one more as his presence in the Michigan secondary has been a big part of their early-season success.

Avonte Maddox, Pittsburgh, +9.6

Maddox has posted a +10.6 coverage grade, giving up 14 catches on 32 targets for 129 yards. He is tied for fourth in the country with five passes defensed, and he’s posted a positive grade in all four games this season.



Jeremy Cash, Duke, +22.3

Locked into a spot on the team for another week, Cash had another strong outing against Boston College (+4.5). He has two sacks, seven hits, and 10 hurries on only 27 rushes, while providing linebacker-like run defense at +14.1 and solid coverage at +3.3.

Jayron Kearse, Clemson, +11.9

The second spot at safety has been fluid, and it’s Kearse’s turn this week. He’s posted four straight games above +1.0, and his +6.5 coverage grade ranks sixth among safeties, while also doing a nice job against the run at +4.8.

| 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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