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2014 SEC Football Position Group Rankings: Defensive Line

Football coverage begins today! Throughout the rest of the summer, the Cup, as well as the rest of the SEC on SBN, will be previewing the conference's teams by comparing position groups. We kick things off with the defensive line

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

From now until the season's kickoff, SB Nation's SEC communities will rank each of the conference's position groups in weekly installments to ideally give you all a preview as to what each team will look like. As with the famous SB Nation SEC Power Poll, each blog will get one ballot with the final results for each week being posted on Team Speed Kills.

This being an Ole Miss Rebel fan community, we're bound to be a bit biased towards our Rebels. Don't let that surprise you, and know that we expect similar behavior out of the rest of the SEC's respective communities. That means that this should all ideally work itself out when the final tally is counted, right? And, if not, oh well. It's not like that'll at all impact the outcomes of this upcoming football season anyway.

So, without any further introduction, here are Red Cup Rebellion's 2014 SEC defensive line rankings. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, and be on the lookout for the final results later this week:

  1. Auburn - Auburn has recruited too well to not take the top spot. Even without the injured Carl Lawson, the Tigers have Elijah Daniel, Gabe Wright, and Montravius Adams to lean on, all of whom should have big years on the plains.

  2. Alabama - The Crimson Tide will have a characteristically strong defensive line, led by A'Shawn Robinson, Dee Liner, and D.J. "Shoulda Gone to Ole Miss" Pettway. Add to that Da'Shawn Hand, the nation's top defensive line recruit from this past year, and you've got a powerful offensive front.

  3. Ole Miss - Put a huge asterisk next to wherever Ole Miss ends up, because so much of that assumes that this team can stay healthy. If end CJ Johnson, who led the team in sacks two seasons ago; Issac Gross, a nose tackle who is quick off of the line; and Robert Nkemdiche, who you've surely heard a lot about - IF they can all stay healthy, then this Rebel front should be salty. The reason there are concerns is that all three of these players were injured for significant portions of last season. Add to them Fadol Brown, a big defensive end transfer from Florida International, and the Rebels have a legitimate starting front.

  4. Mississippi State - Just like Auburn and Ole Miss, the potential for Mississippi State's defensive line is just tremendous. Former five-star standout Chris Jones is a candidate for all-SEC honors, and will play alongside several experienced seniors such as Kaleb Eulls and PJ Jones.

  5. Missouri - Markus Golden and Shane Ray, Mizzou's stud defensive ends, combined for 12 sacks last year even in the shadow of Michael Sam. They should be able to get to quarterbacks early and often this season.

  6. Florida - Dante Fowler will be the star of the Gator D (outside of the undeniable Vernon Hargreaves III, of course), but true freshman Gerald Willis III should impress as well.

  7. LSU - The Tigers, who typically would be towards the top of these rankings, will be relying on a lot of freshmen this year. Seniors Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter make a pair of ends with suitable enough experience to keep the Bayou Bengals competitive up front.

  8. Georgia - Tracy Rocker is at Georgia now. Y'all remember him? Anyway, Ray Drew will be the star of this defensive line. The end had six sacks last year to go along with 43 tackles.

  9. Arkansas - Darius Philon was a monster for Arkansas last season who constantly disrupted plays. One thing that Bret Bielema likes is to be able to stuff the run at the point of attack (which mirrors his "throwing the ball is for communists" approach), something that Philon and the Hogs front will work to do this year.

  10. Kentucky - Bud Dupree and ZaDarius Smith - a name which Rebel ‘crootniks might be familiar with - combined for 13 sacks last season. They should make a pretty formidable rush end combination this season.

  11. South Carolina - What will Carolina be without Jadaveon Clowney? This will be an oft repeated meme this offseason.

  12. Vanderbilt - I heard that Vandy's shifting to a 3-4 this season. That should be interesting.

  13. Texas A&M - The Aggies gave up 236.2 yards per game to SEC competition last year, good for dead last in the conference and had no player in the top-20 in sacks. They'll be relying heavily on freshman Myles Garrett who, admittedly, might be pretty damn good. Take a wait-and-see approach with Texas A&M this year.

  14. Tennessee - Did you know that Tennessee gradauted all of their starters on the defensive line last year? No, for real, they did.