The SEC's SB Nation sites are getting together to rank each of the position groups among the 14 schools. The first up is defensive line. Our ballot is below and the final results are here.
A lot of people have Alabama #1, but this Auburn team ran for almost 300 yards on the Crimson Tide last year. The Tigers are just as deep and talented at the DL position, so I will take them at the top spot.
D.J. Pettway and Brandon Ivory are the household names coming back for the always stout Crimson Tide defensive line. They did lose Jeoffrey Pagan and Ed Stinson, but we all know they don't rebuild, they reload.
Besides the Georgia Southern game, the Gators did pretty well against the run (2nd in SEC in run defense). While they lose Dominique Easley, they gain Gerald Willis III. Gator fans are looking for him to be the type of impact guy that Hog fans are looking for Bijhon Jackson to be.
4. Ole Miss
I'll admit, I'm higher on the Rebels than most. They have to stay healthy, because they don't have to depth the three teams in front of them have. However, their starting four of CJ Johnson, Robert Nkemdiche, Isaac Gross, and Lavon Hooks is just as good a starting front as any in the conference.
They have plenty of talent, but I'm ranking them this high because of their position coach, Tracy Rocker. It's well documented I think Rocker is the best technical and developmental DL coach in the country.
Anthony Jennings and Ego Ferguson is a lot to lose, but LSU is much like Alabama in the fact that they just reload. However, this will be a young group, hence why they are rated towards the middle of the pack.
7. Mississippi State
Chris Jones is awfully good, but he can't stop everyone by himself. He is surrounded by seniors, so one would think they could hold their own and be an effective unit.
A lot of talent here, but the majority of it is young. Trey Flowers and DeMarcus Hodge are the only upperclassmen that will see significant playing time. Granted, Flowers is probably the best DE in the conference. Also, if Bijhon Jackson can come in and have the same type of season Darius Philon had as a freshman, the Hogs will be just fine on the defensive front.
I know Markus Golden and Shane Ray return 12 sacks off of last year's squad, but a team like Mizzou doesn't loose players like Michael Sam and Kony Ealy and not take a step back.
10. South Carolina
"OMG NO JADEVEON CLOWNEY WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO!" - Every ESPN college football analyst this summer with nothing to talk about.
If C.J. Johnson pans out, this won't be as dreadful as last season's group, which allowed 4.9 yards per carry.
They're changing to a 3-4, which helps with their lack of depth. I'm not sure if they have the horses to be that successful with that this season.
13. Texas A&M
The Aggies had the worst defense on the planet until Brazil's World Cup performance yesterday. They sucked last year and they didn't add anything to give them hope.
They graduated every single starter on the defensive line from last year, which allowed 5.3 yards a carry last season.