PFF’s Dream Team: Best players at every position
Steve Palazzolo selects the top performers at every position heading into Week 7 of the season.
PFF’s Dream Team: Best players at every position
Are we already six weeks through the season? The college football season has flown by, but as conference play heats up, the best players in the country are starting to separate themselves in the race to be a part of the PFF Dream Team. Some players have been here since the beginning, while others are barely holding onto their spots as the competition becomes more difficult across the nation.
Here’s a look at PFF Dream Team as we head into Week 7.
Jared Goff, Cal, +20.9
Even with a poor performance against Utah (-3.4), Goff has been the best quarterback in the country this season. After throwing 18 straight touchdowns with no interceptions against the blitz the last two years, Goff threw three picks against Utah’s blitz—needless to say, it was an uncharacteristic game for him. He’s on a bye this week before looking to bounce back against UCLA next Thursday.
Leonard Fournette, LSU, +13.7 as runner
The first running back in the country to top 1,000 yards this season, Fournette made South Carolina his latest victim with 157 yards on 20 carries, highlighted by an 87-yard touchdown. He has an elusive rating of 123.2 that ranks sixth in the nation, while 60.1 percent of his yards have come on breakaway (15+ yard) runs, third-highest in the nation.
Ezekial Elliott, Ohio State, +9.9 as runner/receiver
Elliott has made a big move in recent weeks, adding another 106 yards and two touchdown against Maryland. He’s rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season, while providing strong blocking (he’s yet to give up a pressure).
Josh Doctson, TCU, +16.7 receiving
No receiver has been as productive as Doctson in recent weeks, and he tacked on another 155 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas State. He leads the nation with 12 receptions and seven touchdowns on passes thrown at least 20 yards in the air.
Corey Coleman, Baylor, +10.7 receiving
The battle between the numbers of incompletions thrown Coleman’s way (14) and his receiving touchdowns (13) rages on, and it’s amazing that it’s this close five games into the season for the Bears. He’s averaging 21.9 yards per reception as the nation’s best big play threat.
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky, +13.3 receiving
Brand new to the team, Taylor has been one of the most efficient receivers in the nation, as well as one of the best deep threats. He’s caught 80.9 percent of his targets while averaging 18.3 yards per reception and 10 touchdowns.
Jerell Adams, South Carolina, +10.5
Adams is hanging onto his spot on the team after an average performance as a run blocker against LSU, but his season-long work of +9.5 is among the best in the country. He did add a 36-yard touchdown, as he continues to flash his big play ability, despite uneven play at the quarterback position.
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, +21.5
Fine work in the run game keeps Crosby on the team, as his +17.2 run block grade is tops in the nation. He’s improved in pass protection as the year has progressed, as he hasn’t surrendered a pressure in the last two games.
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, +20.1
No, this isn’t the all-name team, but Lamp has earned his spot with outstanding play this season, just a year removed from posting a +45.6 grade. He’s only given up a hit and three hurries on 248 pass block attempts while grading at +8.4 in the run game.
Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas, +18.4
Facing his toughest test of the season against Alabama, Tretola had an average game at -0.5, but his body of work keeps him at the top. His +13.1 run grade now ranks sixth in the nation, and he’s given up three total pressures on 199 attempts this season.
Joe Thuney, NC State, +18.2
Thuney had a similar outing as Tretola, -0.4 against Virginia Tech, so both guard positions are close to turnover for next week’s Dream Team. He’s still at +13.5 as a run blocker, while allowing only a sack and a hurry on 179 pass blocks this season.
Matt Skura, Duke, +25.1
While the competition at guard is tightening up, Skura is running away from the pack at center after a +6.7 performance against Army. He’s been outstanding in the run game at +18.7, while allowing only two pressures all season on 216 pass block attempts.
Joey Bosa, Ohio State, +30.2
It was a mixed bag for Bosa against Maryland, as he graded negatively against the run, missed two tackles, and committed two penalties, but he was a force as a pass rusher once again with a sack, four hits and five hurries, giving him 2 sacks, 14 hits, and 16 hurries on the season on 162 rushes. The run grade was an anomaly, as he’s at +13.4 for the year, and is still our top-graded edge player.
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, +22.1
It just didn’t feel right taking Garrett off the team due to a bye week, so he’ll share a spot with Penn State’s Carl Nassib. 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.
Carl Nassib, Penn State, +27.0
After dealing with Army’s option attack in Week 5, Nassib reasserted himself in the pass rush department with two sacks, a hit, and two hurries against Indiana. His +16.6 pass rush grade ranks right behind Bosa’s, and he’s been good against the run at +9.3. For the season, he now has 10 sacks, six hits, and 15 hurries on only 128 rushes.
DeForest Buckner, Oregon, +39.1
Buckner has been the best all-around player among interior defensive linemen, leading the way with a pass rush grade of +23.9 and ranking seventh against the run at +14.4. He’s notched four sacks, six hits, and a nation-high 21 hurries on his 242 pass rushes.
Kenny Clark, UCLA +29.9
The No. 2 spot among interior defensive linemen is now a heated battle between Clark, Nebraska’s Maliek Collins, Alabama’s Jarran Reed, and Notre Dame’s Sheldon Day. For now, the incumbent wins out, as Clark has been the nation’s best run defender at +22.4 while adding +6. 2 work as a pass rusher.
Steven Daniels, Boston College, +24.2
Daniels has played well in all areas this season, as his +14.5 grade against the run ranks second, while his +6.9 coverage grade ranks sixth to go with his three interceptions and two passes defensed. He’s also added a sack, two hits, and six hurries for good measure.
Kentrell Brothers, Missouri, +22.3
Bouncing back in a big way against Florida, Brothers finished with a +5.4 overall grade and nine stops, bringing his nation-leading total to 44 (next closest linebacker has 35). He has the best grade against the run in the country (+15.8), while showing well in coverage at +5.4.
Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame +18.7
We’re giving Smith the benefit of the doubt after posting a +0.3 grade against a tough Navy run attack. He’s still at +9.7 against the run on the season, while his +7.2 coverage grade ranks second. He’s given up only 34 yards on nine receptions into his coverage, an impressive 3.8 yards per reception as his first-round athleticism shines in space.
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan +11.1
The nation’s best cornerback to this point made his presence felt with an outstanding interception return for a touchdown against Northwestern, on his way to a +4.2 grade for the game. On the season, his +14.6 coverage grade leads the nation, and he’s given up only 11 receptions on 34 targets for 67 yards (6.1 yards per reception) while picking off two passes and defensing eight more, also a national high.
Jalen Myrick, Minnesota +14.7
The coveted No. 2 cornerback role has rotated again, this time on the strength of a monster game from Myrick. He graded at +6.2 against Purdue, with two interceptions and one pass defensed. For the season, he’s grading at +13.1 in coverage while surrendering 14 receptions on 29 targets for 125 yards, three interceptions and five passes defensed.
Jeremy Cash, Duke, +22.3
Another top-notch performance from Cash, who tacked on three more stops against Army to bring his total to 25, tops among all safeties. His +14.3 grade against the run leads the nation, and our usual citing of his pass rush numbers looks like this: two sacks, seven hits, and 10 hurries on only 28 rushes.
Marcus Maye, Florida, +15.3
After a down week against Ole Miss, Maye returns to the team with his +6.3 outing against Missouri. He picked off a pass and deflected two more to bring his coverage grade to +9.1 on the season, while adding a +5.4 grade against the run. His 17 stops are tied for eighth in the country.