The Southeastern 14's defensive player power rankings for Week Four
Chris Lee • 9/23/2021 in Football
Here's an attempt to sort out the SEC's 14 best defenders.
Lewis Cine photo courtesy of Georgia athletics.
Here's how we rank the SEC's 14 best defensive players through three weeks. Season performance for this season is important, but past performance is also considered this early in the season. We award one tackle for a solo stop and a half-tackle for an assist.
1. Will Anderson, LB, Alabama: 13 stops, 5.5 for loss and a sack through a 3-0 start.
2. DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M: The best player on the nation's leading scoring defense through three games.
3. Zach Carter, DL, Florida: Has been an absolute load to block (six stops for loss) while staying on the field frequently.
4. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU: His PFF grades aren't great, but nobody's throwing on him, either.
5. Lewis Cine, S, Georgia: A pick and three pass break-ups so far.
6. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia: Nine stops, two for loss, and solid grades across the board.
7. Josh Paschal, DE, Kentucky: Has caused about as much trouble in the backfield (four stops for loss, five hurries) as anyone in the SEC so far.
8. Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama: Three-and-a-half stops vs. Florida after sitting out the Mercer game.
9. Eli Ricks, CB, LSU: As with Stingley, whatever damage is done against LSU in the passing game isn't done against him.
10. Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia: Per snap, he's the Bulldogs' best defender.
11. Phidarian Mathis, DL, Alabama: Statistically, he's been more productive than Davis (9.5 stops, three for loss).
12. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida: A pick and a break-up this season, though he hasn't graded up to his reputation yet.
13. Malachi Moore, S, Alabama: Three total tackles and a pick this season.
14. Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn: 13 stops, two picks and a breakup; has been consistent for three seasons now.
- Ratings are based on what I see, what experts who cover each team think, PFF grades, stats, whatever I can get my hands on. I don't have a particular weighting system with any of those, I just try to judge on what I think speaks the loudest.
- It's still early and the best of the games are to come and so what's here is trying to make sense mostly of performances against weak teams combined with reputation and past production. It appears this is a particularly strong year for defenses and there's a remarkable number of great defenders in this league, including some who aren't mentioned above or below. In other words, this list is almost certainly going to change a lot, and that'll start soon.
- Apologies to Texas A&M defensive backs this week; Leon O'Neal and Antonio Johnson have been terrific and could have easily been included; I just want to see more against good competition.
- Georgia easily has 3-4 more players worthy of consideration and so it'll be interesting to see how that shakes out.
- Arkansas has had Jalen Catalon and Grant Morgan on the list this year and it's not a stretch to think both could make a comeback.
- A couple of linemen who've popped are LSU's BJ Ojulari and Tennessee's Matthew Butler and both could appear on this list at some point.