Apparently the phrase “SEC speed” is going to be replaced by “SEC size” soon.

The league is entering about its 10th straight year of being the top conference in college football.

There are some rumblings the Pac-12 is catching it, but that’s a conversation for another day. According to SEC Network’s Greg McElroy, the SEC holds its place at the top largely because of the league’s depth and skill along the defensive line.

McElroy has been ranking positional units in the conference the last few days and came across the defensive line recently. He also supplied his so-called dream team — basically a first-team All-SEC picking — of linemen across the board.

Here’s what McElroy said.

No. 5: Arkansas
No. 4: Florida
No. 3: Tennessee
No. 2: Ole Miss
No. 1: Alabama

McElroy: “(Alabama is No. 1 and) It’s really not even close. I think this gap between 1 and 2 is more so than any other position group in the entire conference. Eight of top 10 return. Fewest rushing yards in SEC.”

DE: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
DT: Montravius Adams, Auburn
DT: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
DE: Derek Barnett, Tennessee


  • Missing a notorious name on that individual list, isn’t he? McElroy claims Robert Nkemdiche isn’t a consistent enough player to beat out Garrett or Barnett. I find that hard, if not impossible to believe.
  • Adams, too, was a curious inclusion. He was named preseason third-team All-SEC. Few doubt his talent, but second-best defensive tackle in the league?
  • Barnett makes Tennessee a top-half team almost by himself. But the Volunteers are missing key playmakers elsewhere. Not sure they’re deserving of a No. 3 ranking. That said, they could be. Much like the team below, a crew of less-famous players could surprise the uninitiated.
  • Arkansas rolls 10 deep along the defensive line. No, really. It’s likely, though, not a single one will finish the year on an All-SEC team — first, second or third. Fifth seems about right.