PFF’s Dream Team: Best players at every position
Steve Palazzolo selects the top performers at every position heading into Week 9 of the season.
PFF’s Dream Team: Best players at every position
It’s just after mid-season time in college football, as this week’s Dream Team effectively works as a mid-season All-American watch. The nation’s best players are starting to pile up gaudy grades, and while a number of familiar faces show up, a lot of the decisions were tightly contested.
It’s going to be a great final month of the season to see which players can maintain their spot on the Dream Team, and which players can play their way in.
Here’s the PFF Dream Team heading into Week 9.
Trevone Boykin, TCU, +33.3
Coming off a bye week, Boykin maintains his spot at quarterback after posting an impressive +24.8 grade over the last four games. His connection with fellow Dream Teamer Josh Doctson has earned an NFL passer rating of 150.8 on 73 targets, best among all Power-5 players. Boykin also ranks seventh in the nation in deep ball accuracy percentage (53.4 percent).
Leonard Fournette, LSU, +30.2
Fournette’s 28.3 run grade dwarfs the next closest competitor (+19.7), leading the nation with 762 yards after contact (4.35 yards after contact per carry) while posting an elusive rating of 138.8 that ranks sixth. He remains the Heisman front-runner after carrying LSU through their first six games.
Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State, +28.2
The best all-around running back in the country this season, Elliott has excelled as a runner (+15.6), receiver (+4.2), and blocker (+8.9). He’s averaging 3.96 yards after contact per rush, and he’s yet to allow a pressure in pass protection all season.
Dalvin Cook, Florida State, +20.5
Another three-man backfield this week, as this group of running backs is just so difficult to sort through (look out for Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey too). Cook is fourth in the nation with an elusive rating of 142.3, while averaging 4.39 yards after contact per rush.
Josh Doctson, TCU, +19.3 receiving
On a bye this week (as noted in the Boykin write-up above), here’s what we said about Doctson last week: The hottest receiver in the country continued his role with another 190 yards on 10 catches to go with two touchdowns against Iowa State. He leads the nation with 15 receptions and eight touchdowns on deep passes.
Corey Coleman, Baylor, +16.2 receiving
With 85 yards, two touchdowns, and a +0.1 receiving grade last weekend, Coleman is coming off his worst game of the season. He’s still putting up mind-bending numbers, as he’s averaging 20.5 yards per reception and 18 touchdowns on the year. He’s averaging 4.99 yards per route to lead the nation.
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky, +18.5 receiving
Taylor’s +18.5 receiving grade ranks third in the nation, and he’s forced 13 missed tackles with the ball in his hands, tied for sixth. His 3.82 yards per route leads all non-Power-5 receivers, and ranks fourth in the nation.
David Morgan, UTSA, +20.2
Morgan returns for the second week in a row, as he’s been the best all-around TE in the country. He boasts the nation’s top run blocking grade at +15.0, while his +6.0 receiving grade ranks third.
Joe Dahl, Washington State, +15.1 pass blocker
Maintaining the nation’s top pass blocking grade, Dahl surrendered only one hurry on 72 dropback attempts against Arizona. He was good in the run game last weekend, as well, at +2.0 to move to +4.6 on the season. He’s now given up only 13 total pressures on 436 pass block attempts this season.
Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech, +18.0
Clark maintains his spot on the team, as well, as his +20.2 overall grade ranks fourth in the nation and leads all Power-5 offensive tackles. His +11.9 pass blocking grade ranks second behind Dahl, while his +6.5 run blocking grade against Power-5 teams is tied for fifth.
Joshua Garnett, Stanford, +28.2
Perhaps the hottest player in the nation right now, Garnett has graded at +22.1 over his last four games and +28.2 overall. He’s given up only six hurries on 198 pass block attempts, but it’s his +22.6 run blocking grade, that has paved the way for a powerful Stanford running attack.
Chase Roullier, Wyoming +28.7
A new addition to the list, Roullier has been one of the best all-around guards in the country this season. He’s given up only three total pressures on 285 attempts, good for a +7.8 pass blocking grade that ranks fourth in the nation, while his +19.1 grade as a run blocker ranks fifth.
Matt Skura, Duke +24.7
Despite posting his first negative game of the season, Skura returns to the team as the nation’s top-graded center. He double his surrendered pressures against Virginia Tech, taking his season total to four on 258 attempts. Skura’s +18.4 run block grade ranks third among FBS centers.
Joey Bosa, Ohio State +40.8
Playing only 35 of 58 snaps against Rutgers, Bosa posted a +2.5 grade to keep his spot atop the edge rusher rankings. He’s picked up four sacks, 14 hits, and 20 hurries on 206 rushes, good for a +21.6 pass rush grade that ranks fifth among edge rushers, while he sits alone at the top against the run at +19.9
Charles Harris, Missouri +37.6
Coming off a strong game against Vanderbilt, Harris re-joins the team, as his +37.6 overall grade ranks second among the nation’s edge rushers. He has six sacks, nine hits, and 16 hurries on 229 rushes, good for a +22.3 pass rush grade that ranks fourth—and he’s complemented it with a +13.6 grade against the run that ranks fifth.
DeForest Buckner, Oregon, +43.7
Buckner and Oregon were on a bye. He still leads all interior defensive linemen with a +27.9 pass rush grade to go with a +16.8 grade against the run that ranks 16th.
Sheldon Rankins, Louisville +37.3
There are now six interior defensive linemen grading over +30.0, so Rankins had a lot of work to do to maintain his spot for the second week in a row. He leads the nation with 27 stops, ranks third with a run stop grade of +23.2, and comes in sixth with a +13.2 pass rush grade that has seen him notch five sacks, six hits, and 13 hurries on 183 rushes.
Steven Daniels, Boston College +26.9
Another fine performance (+6.8) has Daniels separating from the pack at +33.6 overall. He posted three sacks against Louisville to bring his season total to five, to go with three hits and seven hurries on only 59 rushes (+7.7 pass rush grade). Daniels also has the top grade against the run at +21.8, while his +4.7 coverage grade ranks 17th in the country.
Kentrell Brothers, Missouri, +26.5
Brothers is still the runaway leader in stops, as he now has 60 on the season, 20 more than the next closest linebacker. His +20.4 run grade ranks second, while his +4.9 coverage grade is 16th in the nation.
Reggie Ragland, Alabama +19.3
The third spot is a tightly-contested battle, but Ragland remains for at least one more week. He had six stops against Tennessee to bring his season total to 35, good for 11th among linebackers. His +7.3 pass rush grade ranks eighth, while his +6.5 coverage grade is tied for third.
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan +15.9
On a bye this week, he’s coming off a heated battle with Aaron Burbridge. Here’s what we said after Week 7: A back-and-forth battle against one of the nation’s top receivers in Michigan State’s Aaron Burbridge is not enough to keep Lewis off the team. He was targeted 17 times, all against Burbridge, giving up seven receptions and 109 yards, but he also got his hands on four passes. It was an epic battle by two All-American candidates. For the season, Lewis still boasts the top coverage grade among corners at +14.2, while allowing 35.3 percent of passes to be completed his way and notching a nation-high 12 passes defensed.
Jalen Myrick, Minnesota +14.4
Myrick was also on a bye, so he sticks as the No. 2 corner on the team as his +12.1 coverage grade now ranks third in the nation. He’s allowed 17 catches on 35 targets for 183 yards, while intercepting three and defending four others. He’ll need a big game this weekend against Michigan to hold onto his spot.
Jeremy Cash, Duke, +31.2
Cash’s grade grows every week after a +4.4 outing against Virginia Tech that saw him play 107 of a possible 108 snaps. He continues to put up absurd numbers as a pass rusher, now totaling three sacks, eight hits, and 15 hurries on only 42 rushes. Throw in his +15.1 grade against the run, and he’s a lock for the team once again.
Jayron Kearse, Clemson, +16.9
Kearse brings a well-rounded game of his own, as his +9.2 grade against the run ranks third in the nation, while his +7.0 coverage grade ranks eighth. He posted a +1.3 grade in Clemson’s dismantling of Miami last weekend.