Sealing the edge and protecting the quarterback is what these guys do best. Here are our projections for the SEC’s starting left and right tackles for each team in the Eastern Division this season and their impact on each respective unit:

Eastern Division

Florida: David Sharpe and Roderick Johnson — Incoming five-star Martez Ivey will have a say in the matter when he arrives later this summer, but nearing the end of spring practice it appears Sharpe and Johnson will at least begin the fall at the first-team left and right tackle spots on Jim McElwain’s offense. The Gators lost five offensive linemen that started games in 2014 including massive tackle D.J. Humphries and only had seven scholarship players healthy enough to practice this month up front. Guard Trip Thurman is this unit’s lone returning starter.

Georgia: John Theus and Kolton Houston — One of four returning starters along the SEC’s most impressive offensive front, Theus has 35 career starts to his credit as a rising senior leader and All-SEC candidate now that veteran center David Andrews has exhausted his eligibility. Theus has had a hand in several record-breaking seasons offensively along with Houston, the Bulldogs’ starting right tackle who was granted a sixth year of eligibility in December. You would be hard-pressed to find two more reliable bookends in the SEC, the nucleus of a unit that gave up just 17 sacks last fall — three more than Arkansas’ league-best total.

Kentucky: Jordan Swindle and Kyle Meadows — The Wildcats’ offensive line must replace its best player (left tackle Darrian Miller) this fall on a unit that gave up the second-most sacks a season ago and rarely provided a consistent push in the running game. However, for the first time in Mark Stoops’ tenure, Kentucky appears to have a slew of interchangeable bodies up front — a necessity in the fast-paced Air Raid attack according to first-year coordinator Shannon Dawson. Swindle has transitioned from right to left tackle and will handle quarterback Patrick Towles’ blind side while Meadows, a third-year sophomore, is the odds-on favorite on the right. Josh Krok (6-8, 303) and Nick Richardson (6-4, 272) are options on the right side as well.

Mizzou: Taylor Chappell and Clay Rhodes — Gary Pinkel knew what he was getting out of left tackle Mitch Morse last season, the only starting offensive lineman not returning this fall, but is confident this year’s group could be even better as a unit. The Tigers should have one of the Eastern Division’s strongest teams at the line of scrimmage, led by center Evan Boehm who could get preseason All-American buzz. At the bookends, Chappell and Rhodes will shield Maty Mauk from oncoming defending and open lanes for Russell Hansbrough. The Tigers will try and get back to a more balanced attack offensively after becoming one-dimensional at times during their second consecutive journey to Atlanta in 2014.

South Carolina: Mike Matulis and Brandon Shell — Shell has missed all of spring practice following shoulder surgery but returns in August as the anchor of the right side of the Gamecocks’ offensive line. He’ll be paired with Mike Matulis, another injured blocker, to protect first-year (projected) starting quarterback Connor Mitch on a new-look unit. Replacing All-American guard A.J. Cann is assistant coach Shawn Elliott’s most challenging predicament. Multi-year starter Corey Robinson exits at left tackle, but was inconsistent at times as a senior. Matulis is a fifth-year option with 10 career starts (and a freshman All-American honor), but has been hampered by several injuries during his time in Columbia, S.C. He missed most of last season with a torn ACL.

Tennessee: Kyler Kerbyson and Coleman Thomas — The Vols have as many as seven players who could see time at the left or right tackle spots this season, a slight concern for a unit that gave up the fifth-most sacks in the nation last fall. Better suited playing inside up front, Kerbyson and Thomas are almost the bookend projected starters by default. Thomas started five games as a true freshman last season and will only get better. Kerbyson, a senior, is arguably Tennessee’s most complete blocker and could slide in at left tackle if no other player emerges. Kerbyson was the only Vol on offense to play every snap last season. The best-case scenario for the Vols is that fourth-year junior and 6-foot-8 monster Dontavius Blair progresses the way Tennessee’s coaching staff expects this spring. Keep an eye on Drew Richmond, one of a couple highly-touted signees who will compete for playing time as well at tackle.

Vanderbilt: Andrew Jelks and Will Holden — Jelks has made 21 starts at left tackle since earning the job full-time as a redshirt freshman during the 2013 campaign. He’s one of four starters back for the Commodores up front. In 10 starts at right tackle as a sophomore, Holden accumulated 26 pancake blocks and eight ‘domination’ blocks.