1. Alabama – I don’t have to tell you about the defensive line talent that is going to walk through that door. They only return one starter (Brandon Ivory) but they will be as good as ever. A’Shawn Robinson is a “new” starter but he lead the team in sacks last year with 5.5; this is a 3-4 where the LBs terrorize opposing offensive, one main reason is the havoc these guys create.
2. Florida – Will Muschamp has had his troubles as a head coach but I won’t deny his defensive prowess. This group has been solid since he got there. Dominique Easley will not return but Dante Fowler is expected to be one of the most dynamic players in the league…he leads three starters back on the DL.
3. Mississippi State – Denico Autry graduates but the Dawgs won’t miss a beat without him. Young pups Ryan Brown and A.J. Jefferson are looking to take over at DE opposite Preston Brown. Chris Jones is a beast on the inside and P.J. Jones is a solid player. The talent is there – three year starter Kaleb Eulls may be a backup.
4. Ole Miss – this is the year the Rebels have been waiting for. If it all comes together they could be the best with C.J. Johnson, Robert Nkemdiche and the massive Woodrow Hamilton. Plenty of talent here.
5. Auburn – most folks have the Tigers higher but I just don’t know when you lose your best player in Dee Ford, then the ultra talented Carl Lawson has gone down to injury before the season. They still have a boatload of talent coming in and will be fine, I just don’t know about dominate.
6. LSU – every year LSU has a player or two on the D-line you hear about throughout the SEC. I’m not sure who that guy might be this year. Jermauria Rasco looks like their best player – he’s one of two starters returning. They’ll be good. Too much talent not to.
7. Georgia – they’ll keep with the 3-4 and two guys back in
Jon Taylor (dismissed from the team on Wednesday) and Ray Drew. The latter is a really good end. Sterling Bailey will provide some rush opposite Drew.
8. Missouri – the Tigers lose the SEC defensive player of the year in Michael Sam. They’ll replace both DE spots and I’m not really sure how well that’s going to work. We’ll see.
9. South Carolina – with Clowney USC had the best DL for three years running. Not only do they lose him but Kelsy Quarles as well. Gamecocks take a few steps back this year.
10. Arkansas – Trey Flowers is a stud at DE but that’s all you can really say. They replace two starters on the line.
11. Kentucky – the tackles will have to be shored up, and they’ll have to keep improving. This group gave up nearly 200 yards on the ground last year.
12. Texas A&M – the only reason not to rate them last is they return all four starters. But they gave up 222 yards on the ground last year and only had 21 sacks.
13. Vanderbilt – it’s just going to be tough everywhere for the Commodores. Only one returning starter…can they put together a decent line? Who knows.
14. Tennessee – not only was last year’s D-line bad giving up over 200 YPG, but they have complete turnover. If the new guys weren’t good enough to play last year then I don’t know what else there is to say but yikes, Vols.