News & Analysis

College Football: 2019 PFF All-SEC Team

The dust has settled on the 2019 regular season at the FBS level and it's time to take a look back. Ahead of the conference championships, we take a look at the best players at their respective positions with an in-depth look at how they graded over the course of the full season.

Utilizing our play-by-play grades of every player on every play of every game, our All-SEC team takes into account every player's actions on the field on Saturdays while also utilizing our wealth of signature statistics to determine the list. The strength of opponent and consistent play also factor into our selections detailed below.

The 2019 PFF All-SEC Team

QUARTERBACK

First Team: Joe Burrow, LSU

It was a historic game for Joe Burreaux on LSU's Senior Night in Week 14, as he set the SEC single-season passing yard record (4,366) as well as tied the passing touchdown mark (44). He also leads the SEC in adjusted completion percentage (81.8%) and big-time throws (29). There's no shortage of metrics in which Burrow leads, but perhaps the most impressive is that he's also earned the third-highest grade (93.9) that we've ever given to a quarterback since PFF began grading college football in 2014.

It's a poetic end to the regular season for the highest-graded collegiate signal-caller, but that won't be the last we see of Burrow's 2019 campaign, as LSU is looking to earn a bid in the College Football Playoff following the SEC Championship.

Second-Team QB: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Third-Team QB: Jake Fromm, Georgia
Honorable Mention: Kyle Trask, Florida

RUNNING BACK

First Team: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU

The SEC always showcases premier running back talent, but nobody graded higher as a runner at the position than LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire (90.6) in 2019. Even though the LSU back collected 43 receptions on 49 targets, his real dominance was displayed on the ground. Edwards-Helaire moved the chains 67 times, forced 54 missed tackles and recorded zero fumbles across 185 rushing attempts.

Second-Team RB: Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
Third-Team RB: Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
Honorable Mention: Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M

First Team: Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris made an appearance on PFF’s Preseason All-SEC Team, and his 2019 campaign undoubtedly confirmed his status at the top of the conference. The Northern California product produced an SEC-best 74 first downs. In fact, 39.0% of Harris’ runs resulted in either a first down or touchdown — an impressive figure on 189 attempts. Consistency was key in 2019 for the Alabama back, as he amassed 50 or more yards in 11 of his 12 games and forced four or more missed tackles in eight games this season.

Second-Team RB: D'Andre Swift, Georgia
Third-Team RB: Rekeem Boyd, Arkansas
Honorable Mention: Tavien Feaster, South Carolina

WIDE RECEIVER

First Team: Ja'Marr Chase, LSU

Ja’Marr Chase caps off the awe-inspiring trio of LSU playmakers on this list, and for a good reason. No receiver has caught more passes that have gone for 15 yards or more (38), resulting in his SEC-leading 1,460 yards this season. Chase was the primary beneficiary from Burrow’s record-setting season, but we’d be hard-pressed to award Burrow all the credit. The wide receiver’s 7.9 yard-after-the-catch average ranks fifth among SEC receivers with 50-plus targets and his 91.9 receiving grade leads all Power Five pass-catchers.

Second-Team WR: Justin Jefferson, LSU
Third-Team WR: Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Honorable Mention: George Pickens, Georgia

First Team: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

Jeudy was another Alabama skill player on the PFF’s Preseason All-SEC Team, as he was the reigning Biletnikoff winner entering the season. He didn’t have a similarly award-winning season this year, but he was still nothing short of spectacular for the Crimson Tide, earning an 83.3 receiving grade across 345 passing snaps. Jeudy, known for his route-running ability, caught 73 passes and nine scores and 29 of his receptions went for 15 or more yards.

Second-Team WR: Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
Third-Team WR: Seth Williams, Auburn
Honorable Mention: Elijah Moore, Ole Miss

First Team: DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Every week was a mystery regarding which Alabama wide receiver would be showcased in their vaunted passing attack, but none have been as consistently explosive as DeVonta Smith. He surpassed the 200-receiving-yard mark twice this season, forcing 14 missed tackles and averaging 12.2 yards after the catch per reception. Smith’s 19.3 yards per reception rank third among qualifying SEC pass-catchers, and his 84.0 receiving grade ranks fourth.

Second-Team WR: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Third-Team WR: Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
Honorable Mention: Quartney Davis, Texas A&M

TIGHT END

First team: Kyle Pitts, Florida

The most targeted tight end (81) in the SEC makes the conference team of the year after earning first-team honors in six separate weeks through the course of the 2019 season. Pitt’s heavy workload didn’t translate to poor efficiency, however, as he caught 52 passes for 634 yards and 33 first downs, both SEC-high marks. Although he was left off the list of finalists for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s best tight end, he’s been a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses by totaling 14 contested catches, second among all FBS tight ends.

Second-Team TE: Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M
Third-Team TE: Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
Honorable Mention: Cheyenne O'Grady, Arkansas

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

First Team: Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Only five offensive tackles earned the coveted elite (90.0-plus) grade in 2019, with Georgia’s Andrew Thomas being one of them (92.9). The potential top-five NFL draft pick was penalized just twice across 746 total snaps — one of the best rates in FBS football. Thomas yielded seven quarterback pressures, just one of which resulted in a sack, and he earned an 88.7 pass-blocking grade. There was no doubt that Thomas would find himself on his list following his remarkable 2019 campaign.

Second-Team OT: Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
Third-Team OT: Tyre Phillips, Mississippi State
Honorable Mention: Damien Lewis, LSU

OFFENSIVE GUARD

First Team: Landon Dickerson, Alabama

The 2019 season was Dickerson’s first year wearing crimson and white following his transfer from Florida State, and it doesn’t take much to see why it was a smashing success. The 6-6, 307-pound offensive guard produced positive marks both run- and pass-blocking, earning 76.8 and 84.8 grades, respectively. Dickerson was pivotal in Alabama’s air-raid passing attack this season after surrendering just four quarterback pressures and zero sacks across 389 passing snaps.

Second-Team OG: Trey Smith, Tennessee
Third-Team OG: Marquel Harrell, Auburn
Honorable Mention: Damien Lewis, LSU

CENTER

First Team: Trey Hill, Georgia

Trey Hill’s versatile play was indispensable to the Georgia offensive line’s success this season. After making the preseason switch to center, Hill was nothing short of phenomenal, earning 72.7 run-blocking and 78.0 pass-blocking grades. Hill’s level of play only progressed throughout the season, too, as he earned 75.0-plus pass-blocking grades in five of his last six games.

Second-Team C: Drake Jackson, Kentucky
Third-Team C: Trystan Colon-Castillo, Missouri
Honorable Mention: Darryl Williams, Mississippi State

OFFENSIVE GUARD

First Team: Ben Cleveland, Georgia

Cleveland only produced an elite (90.0-plus) grade in one bout this season, but the consistency was essential for the interior offensive lineman, who finished the season with a 77.0 offense grade. Not to mention, the Georgia offensive guard recorded 435 snaps across 12 games and kept nearly a clean sheet with just two penalties all year, both of which came in the first half of the season. The media can easily overlook the interior positions along the offensive line, but it is worth noting that Cleveland only allowed seven pressures, none of which resulted in a sack.

Second-Team OG: Solomon Kindley, Georgia
Third-Team OG: Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
Honorable Mention: Deonte Brown, Alabama

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

First Team: Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama

Wills was one of two SEC offensive tackles to earn an elite grade this regular season (90.0), and he did so in a year where he surrendered 11 pressures and one sack. Although he allowed double-digit pressures, his run-blocking ability was what inflated his impressive offense grade. His 91.4 run-blocking grade ranked fourth among all FBS tackles. It’s no secret that Alabama boasts one of the most talented offensive lines in collegiate football, and they’ve displayed that by absolutely bodying SEC defensive lines, especially in the running game.

Second-Team OT: Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
Third-Team OT: Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
Honorable Mention: Carson Green, Texas A&M

EDGE DEFENDER

First Team: Jonathan Greenard, Florida

Louisville transfer Jonathan Greenard finished the season as one of nine edge defenders with an elite grade in 2019. One of the more balanced players along any defensive line in collegiate football, Greenard earned 86.1 and 91.2 grades in pass-rush and run-defense, respectively. Jabari Zuniga and David Reese were once thought to be the leading talents along the Gators' front-seven. Still, it was Greenard who shined for the duration of the season, securing 48 total quarterback pressures as well as 19 stops in run defense.

Second-Team Edge: Marlon Davidson, Auburn
Third-Team Edge: K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Honorable Mention: Darrell Taylor, Tennessee

First Team: Anfernee Jennings, Alabama

Anfernee Jennings was a name that we touted as a preseason favorite to make the SEC team of the year after amassing 36 total QB pressures in 2018, but he operated at an even more formidable level in 2019. The Crimson Tide edge defender pressured opposing quarterbacks 45 times, good enough for a 16.6% pressure percentage and an 88.8 pass-rush grade. These marks are not only career-highs but all rank near the top among SEC edge rushers. Jennings also had a resurgence in run defense this season, producing an 86.9 grade and 31 defensive stops, seven of which were for a loss or no gain.

Second-Team Edge: Terrell Lewis, Alabama
Third-Team Edge: Chauncey Rivers, Mississippi State
Honorable Mention: D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina

INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

First Team: Jordan Elliott, Missouri

Jordan Elliott was a man on a mission in 2019, finishing the season with the highest-grade among all qualifying FBS interior defenders (92.1). Lethal in multiple phases of the game, Elliott was the only interior defender who produced elite grades in both run defense and pass-rush, which is as good a reason as any to find yourself on not only the SEC Team of the Year but also the National Team of the Year. His 17.6% pass-rush win rate ranks fourth among all Power Five interior defenders this year.

Second-Team DI: Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Third-Team DI: Raekwon Davis, Alabama
Honorable Mention: Christian Barmore, Alabama

First Team: Derrick Brown, Auburn

Derrick Brown has been terrorizing offensive lines all season long, and he got the chance to do it on a national stage in Auburn’s thrilling win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl. His 75.1 PFF grade contributed to his astonishing streak of not recording a single sub-60.0 grade in any of his three previous seasons. In 2019 specifically, Brown recorded 38 quarterback pressures and an elite 90.7 pass-rush grade. Far from a one-trick pony, the Auburn interior defender accumulated 25 stops and zero missed tackles in run defense.

Second-Team DI: Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Third-Team DI: Calvin Taylor Jr., Kentucky
Honorable Mention: Bobby Brown III, Texas A&M

LINEBACKER

First Team: Nick Bolton, Missouri

After earning a 57.5 grade across 101 snaps in 2018, Nick Bolton surprised us and went on an absolute tear in 2019, constructing the highest grade among all Power Five linebackers (91.4). You’d be hard-pressed to find a player at his position who performed as well as Bolton did in both run defense and coverage. He forced an incompletion on eight of his 29 targets and collected 45 stops when defending the ground game.

Second-Team LB: Zakoby McClain, Auburn
Third-Team LB: Jamar Watson, Kentucky
Honorable Mention: David Reese II, Florida

First Team: K.J. Britt, Auburn

There are few linebackers as good as Britt at defending against the run. In fact, zero linebackers earned a better grade in said facet of the game than the Auburn linebacker (91.1) did in 2019. Britt amassed 31 run-defense stops across 227 snaps with two forced fumbles to boot. It’s also worth mentioning his near-clean sheet, managing to be on the books for just one penalty this season.

Second-Team LB: Patrick Queen, LSU
Third-Team LB: Ventrell Miller, Florida
Honorable Mention: De'Jon Harris, Arkansas

CORNERBACK

First Team: Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

It seems as if the SEC boasts surefire NFL talent at the front-seven positions every year, but the secondary may have stolen that identity this season. LSU corner Derek Stingley Jr. leads all Power Five cornerbacks with an 89.2 PFF grade, which is mostly comprised of his astounding 89.6 coverage grade. He’s been targeted as the primary defender in coverage 72 times this season, allowing just 29 receptions and forcing an incompletion on 23.6% of said targets. Though a freshman, his play imitates a red-shirt senior as he’s maintained a 62.4 passer rating when targeted.

Second-Team CB: Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Third-Team CB: Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State
Honorable Mention: Cedrick Dort, Kentucky

First Team: Trevon Diggs, Alabama

We labeled Trevon Diggs as a breakout player this season, and he did exactly that. After earning sub-80.0 defense grades in three straight seasons with Alabama, Diggs rocketed to the top of the SEC cornerback grades, finishing the year with an 89.2 overall mark and a 90.3 coverage grade. Opposing quarterbacks maintained a 26.1 passer rating when targeting the cornerback. Diggs also snagged five interceptions and forced an incompletion on 19.3% of targets.

Second-Team CB: Eric Stokes, Georgia
Third-Team CB: Roger McCreary, Auburn
Honorable Mention: Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn

SAFETY

First Team: Xavier McKinney, Alabama

McKinney is one of three SEC safeties who earned an 80.0-plus grade in both run defense and coverage. Making the third-highest grade (87.8) for an SEC safety was no easy task for the 6-1, 200-pound safety, as he has shown promising progression by increasing his season grade in every year he’s played for the Crimson Tide. Similar to his collegiate career arc, he also finished the 2019 season on a high note, producing three straight 80.0-plus coverage grades. He was targeted as the primary defender in coverage 57 times and allowed just 34 receptions for 328 yards and a 71.4 passer rating.

Second-Team S: Nigel Warrior, Tennessee
Third-Team S: Richard LeCounte, Georgia
Honorable Mention: Grant Delpit, LSU

First Team: Jeremiah Dinson, Auburn

Dinson owned the highest-grade (90.2) among all SEC safeties, and he did so on a defense that is full of brilliant playmakers. After three lackluster seasons, Dinson showed serious promise, specifically in coverage. His 91.9 coverage grade is a result of his superior lockdown ability, and he has the statistics to show for it. Across 359 coverage snaps, the Auburn safety was targeted just 31 times, allowing 22 receptions and just 99 total receiving yards — good enough for 4.5 yards per reception.

Second-Team S: Kamren Curl, Arkansas
Third-Team S: Donovan Stiner, Florida
Honorable Mention: Shawn Davis, Florida

FLEX DEFENSE

First Team: Kristian Fulton, LSU

Fulton, the LSU cornerback opposite Derek Stingley Jr., earned the third-highest grade (88.5) for an SEC cornerback. This marks the second season in which Fulton has produced an 88.0-plus defense grade. If once is a coincidence and twice is a trend, then he may just be one of the most dominant defensive backs in the SEC. Of the 54 targets that came his way, Fulton made a play on the ball 16 times with an interception to boot. The LSU cornerback played press coverage on 265 of his 407 coverage snaps and forced 10 incompletions on 35 targets.

Second-Team FLEX: J.R. Reed, Georgia
Third-Team FLEX: Kaiir Elam, Florida
Honorable Mention: Brandin Echols, Kentucky

KICKER

First Team: Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Blankenship was the nation’s highest-graded kicker, and it wasn’t even close. He was a perfect 43-for-43 on extra points and nailed 85.7% of his field goals in 2019. The Georgia kicker known for wearing the specs was accurate even from long distance, hitting three-of-four from 50-plus yards and 11-of-15 from 40-plus.

Second-Team kicker: Brent Cimaglia, Tennessee
Third-Team kicker: Evan McPherson, Florida
Honorable Mention: Parker White, South Carolina

PUNTER

First Team: Braden Mann, Texas A&M

Braden Mann, the reigning Ray Guy Award winner and one of five Power Five punters to have earned an elite grade (90.0), pinned 28 of his 54 attempts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Opponents only signaled for a fair catch on nine of his punts, but he still averaged a 40.8-yard net-punt average.

Second-Team punter: Joseph Charlton, South Carolina
Third-Team punter: Jake Camarda, Georgia
Honorable Mention: Arryn Siposs, Auburn

KICK RETURNER

First Team: Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss

Jerrion Ealy, the Ole Miss playmaker, returned one kick for a touchdown and amassed 320 return yards this season — good enough for 24.6 yards per return.

Second-Team kick returner: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Third-Team kick returner: De'Vion Warren, Arkansas
Honorable Mention: Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky

PUNT RETURNER

First Team: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Well known for his incredibly explosive playmaking ability, Jaylen Waddle was the highest-graded qualifying punt returner (92.0) in all of FBS football. He was the only punt returner to surpass the 400-yard return mark (480), as he averaged 25.3 yards per return.

Second-Team punt returner: Richaud Floyd, Missouri
Third-Team punt returner: Christian Tutt, Auburn
Honorable Mention: Marquez Callaway, Tennessee

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