Ranking Top 10 offensive linemen in the SEC
This isn’t necessarily a banner year for offensive linemen in the SEC, but when players like Auburn’s Braden Smith and Florida’s David Sharpe are left off a top 10 list the conference is still better than most.
Unfortunately for this group, they will match up against a loaded group of defensive linemen, so things might not be as good or bad as they appear.
That being said he’s the list of top 10 offensive linemen in the SEC in 2016.
10. Austin Golson, C/T, Auburn, Jr.: I like Auburn’s offensive line and Golson barely gets the nod over Braden Smith by the fact that he’s now a legitimate starting option at center and left tackle.
Golson started his career at Ole Miss and actually was a longtime commit at Florida State before settling on the Plains. Golson grades out above average in pass blocking and run blocking. Not a superstar but very steady and productive.
9. Avery Gennesy, T, Texas A&M, Sr.: Getting slapped around by Myles Garrett every day in practice makes a player quit or get better. Gennesy, a junior college recruit, has gotten a lot better and tougher. The left tackle position at A&M has had some good ones recently and Gennesy is certainly capable of putting himself in that discussion.
8. Robert Conyers, C, Ole Miss, Sr.: I’m not joined by many on the Conyers bandwagon, and his head injury that forced him to miss the second half of the 2015 season worries me a little. But this guy is an athlete and Ole Miss asks a lot out of their center, especially playing in front of an occasionally unorthodox quarterback like Chad Kelly. When on the field, Conyers does nothing but produce.
7. Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia, Jr.: What Wynn lacks in natural size (6-2, 280) he more than makes up for with his mean streak. Wynn is barely big enough to be a center but Georgia lined him up at left tackle for half the season and he battled like a champion. Wynn will go back to his more natural position at guard and pave the way for at least one of Georgia’s running backs to have a 1,000-yard season.
6. Coleman Thomas, C, Tennessee, Jr.: Thomas has really been the catalyst behind the successful running game at Tennessee. The Volunteers rushed for nearly 3,000 yards in 2015 and did the majority of their damage behind Thomas whether he was at center or at one of the tackle positions. Thomas was an SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week performing in Week 12 last season and is a likely candidate for one of the All-SEC team this season as long as he stays healthy.
5. Jon Toth, C, Kentucky, Sr.: Toth is pretty underappreciated in SEC circles despite being solid in all aspects of his game. (How underappreciated? They mispronounced his last name at SEC Media Days.) He is well above average with his run blocking and his pass blocking. He makes clean snaps and is durable (35 consecutive starts). He’s athletic enough to be a center who can get out to the perimeter on the screens and dump passes that Kentucky likes to run.
4. Martez Ivey, T/G, Florida, Soph.: Ivey looks like he’ll play guard this season so Florida can have him and David Sharpe on the same side of the line. Ivey can also play either tackle position seamlessly. Ivey can absolutely blow defenders up in run blocking, which was his strength coming out of high school. His long arms and athleticism make him difficult to deal with in the pass game.
3. Ethan Pocic, C, LSU, Sr.: Throw Pocic anywhere on the LSU line and he’s the best player at that position. He played guard two years ago and moved to center last season. In LSU’s run-based offense, Pocic is guy that does the damage with his strength and physical play. As long as he’s fully recovered from offseason hip surgery, Pocic should be one of the best in the league again.
2. Dan Skipper, T, Arkansas, Sr.: Skipper has started in his first three seasons with Arkansas and has the size at 6-foot-10 that you just can’t teach. Skipper’s versatility is underrated as he’s played guard and both tackle positions. Like most Arkansas linemen, Skipper gets down and dirty when it’s time to block for the running game and loves punishing defensive lines as they wear down in the second half.
1. Cam Robinson, T, Alabama, Jr.: Definitely the best offensive lineman in the conference and quite possibly the best run-blocking lineman in the nation. Robinson needs to clean up his act a little off the field and was certainly spared by the loving disciplinary touch of Nick Saban. Robinson was a better pass blocker as a freshman than he was last year and part of that can be chalked up to facing a better array of pass rushers. I expect that part of his game to get back to a high level in 2016.