Defensive Linemen Laboratories: Which SEC school produces the best defensive linemen?
The SEC has produced a ton of incredible defensive linemen over the last decade. From Marcus Spears through Jadeveon Clowney, a slew of superstars have passed through the conference’s ranks.
Which school tops the ranks of defensive linemen production, encompassing recruiting, performance and NFL products?
To figure it out, we did some simple tallying. We looked back at the last 10 recruiting cycles (2006-15), seasons and NFL drafts (2005-14). Each four- or five-star wide receiver recruit a school signed earned a half-point, each AP first-team All-SEC selection earned two points, AP All-American selections were worth four points and NFL draft picks were worth three.
In the cases of Missouri and Texas A&M, both of which joined the conference in 2012, we included any AP first-team Big 12 selections from 2006-11.
|Team||4- and 5-star signees||First-team All-SEC||All-Americas||NFL draft picks||Total points|
It was close throughout the conference, with the teams ranked second through sixth separated by just 12 points in our scoring. Thanks to the most first-team All-SEC seasons and the most draft picks by a wide margin, LSU lapped the rest of the field.
In the past 10 years, LSU has gotten two All-American seasons from its defensive linemen (both from Glenn Dorsey, who won a slew of national awards in 2007) and a whopping 17 NFL draft picks — an average of nearly two per year. Five of those 17 were first rounders, proving that LSU has had both depth and elite talent along the defensive line. Nearly half of the players drafted came from the John Chavis era, thanks to a scheme that put a major emphasis on defensive line pressure.
Alabama placed second in our scoring, thanks to elite recruiting and two All-American seasons from Terrence Cody. Auburn followed, equaling Alabama in draft picks (10) and placing more players (six to four) on the All-SEC first team in the last decade. Georgia (12) and Florida (11) were the first two teams behind LSU in number of draft picks and ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Missouri and South Carolina’s recent runs of producing NFL-caliber talent keeps them in the conversation as well.