The preseason Southeastern 14 defensive ratings
Chris Lee • 9/2/2021 in Football
Our list of the 14 best defenders in the SEC heading into 2021.
Derek Stingley Jr. photo courtesy of LSU athletics.
Here's a list of the 14 best defensive players in the SEC heading into the season. We'll update these rankings weekly.
1. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU: Two years, two All-American selections so far.
2. DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M: Seven tackles for loss, eight hurries an an almost-impeccable 2020 season.
3. Will Anderson, LB, Alabama: Was spectacular as a true freshman in '20, with 10.5 TFL, seven sacks and eight hurries.
4. Eli Ricks, CB, LSU: Four picks, five break-ups operating opposite of Stingley last year.
5. Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama: Physical corner who had 11 break-ups last season.
6. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida: Two picks, 11 break-ups (tied for the league lead with Jobe among returnees) and one fumble recovery last year.
7. Tykee Smith, DB, Georgia: Health is a question--it sounds as if he'll miss the Clemson game--but he was spectacular (eight stops for loss, two picks, five break-ups) when on the field at West Virginia last year.
8. Malachi Moore, S, Alabama: Three picks, six break-ups last season.
9. Emmanuel Forbes, CB, MSU: Three pick-sixes among his five interceptions as a true freshman last year; needs to be more consistent.
10. Jalen Catalon, S, Arkansas: Productive across the board (51 solo stops, 48 assists, three picks, four break-ups, two forced fumbles).
11. Martin Emerson, CB, MSU: Forbes got the headlines, but Emerson was more consistent a year ago.
12. Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn: Had a breakout season as a junior; is one of the league's most underrated players.
13. Brenton Cox, LB, Florida: Had an astounding 18 QB pressures to go with 9.5 stops for loss last season.
14. Grant Morgan, LB, Arkansas: Sixth-year player had a stat-stuffing season while leading the season in tackles (40 solos, 71 assists), with five break-ps and 7.5 stops for loss.