SEC Debate: Most coveted player if SEC free agency existed
Despite the collective national attention ladled onto LSU running back Leonard Fournette, he remains a potential all-time great at an ever-downgraded position.
Even in college, running backs only can hold so much influence. We saw, for example, what happened at Georgia last year when Todd Gurley went out due to suspension or injury — Nick Chubb became one of the best running backs in the country. An SEC running back is only as good as his offensive line.
Quarterback? Well, that’s another story.
I still believe Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott is the most valuable player in the SEC. Even more so than Fournette.
Curious to see how the SDS staff feels, I decided to pose the question.
IF EVERY SEC PLAYER BECAME A FREE AGENT TOMORROW, WHOM WOULD YOU SELECT FOR YOUR TEAM FIRST?
John Brasier (@John_BrasierSDS): LSU RB Leonard Fournette
He’s a difference maker. The gap between him and other running backs is pronounced. He can put a team on his back. Dak Prescott is the best quarterback, but there are other QBs close in capability.
Tom Brew (@tombrewsports): LSU RB Leonard Fournette
I’ve always been a quarterback guy, but there is something far too special about Leonard Fournette to pass him up with the first pick. He’s got the speed to run by you and the power to run through you, but best of all he’s got the best set of feet for a a big back that I’ve seen in years. He finds every last bit of open space and knows how to find the end zone.
Chris Wright (@filmroomeditor): Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell
I’m a Jags fan, so I’ll answer through that prism. Jacksonville has its QB and RB. The Jags need defensive help. If Myles Garrett were eligible, he would be almost impossible to ignore. The Jaguars also have to deal with Andrew Luck twice a year, so shutdown corner Vernon Hargreaves III makes perfect sense from a talent-plus-fit standpoint. Can’t go wrong with either guy, especially when you pair him with last year’s first-rounder Dante Fowler, but I’d take Laquon Treadwell. Receivers are the cleanup hitters in the new NFL and nobody produces highlights quite like Treadwell. The production is off the charts, but I love the way he plays the game, his physical nature in the run game, his willingness to be a decoy, etc. He is going to be a monster to deal with.
Brad Crawford (@BCrawfordSDS): LSU RB Leonard Fournette
Dak Prescott and Leonard Fournette would definitely be the two players I start — and end — with considering their success this year, but I’d probably lean toward the sophomore running back since I’ll have him an additional season. While Dak shreds opposing secondaries, LSU’s star ballcarrier crushes game plans altogether thanks to a propensity for big games no matter the scheme. Fournette’s playing in a different stratosphere right now with a level of confidence we haven’t seen in the SEC since Bo and Herschel. In fact, he might be a more talented player than both of those guys.
Christian Malone (@Christian_SDS): Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott
Tough question. It could be Dak Prescott. Or Leonard Fournette. Or Laremy Tunsil or Robert Nkemdiche. All four are major difference makers, and you couldn’t go wrong with any of them.
Ultimately, though, for me, it comes down to position. No position is more valuable than quarterback. If I want to build a championship program, I need a quarterback who can lead my offense. Look at every national championship team this century; they all had either a superstar quarterback or a system QB who ran the offense effectively, didn’t make mistakes and kept the team in position to win.
You need good quarterback play if you’re going to win a championship. And the best quarterback in the SEC right now is Dak Prescott. He can throw the ball (2,048 yards, 14 touchdowns, just one interception in eight games), he can run the ball (371 yards, 7 touchdowns), he can make plays and he’s led Mississippi State to 22 wins in the last two-and-a-half years. He’s a player I’d love to build a college football team around.