In the age of spread offenses and busy scoreboards, the SEC still sends great defensive players to the NFL draft every year. In fact, a little more than 28 percent of the first-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft (9 of 32) were SEC defenders.
So it comes as no surprise that when SEC players are asked to identify the best player they’ve ever faced, some of those defensive stars are named most often.
On Tuesday, NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread released the results of a poll in which 20 players at the 2017 SEC Media Days last week were asked that very question.
Of the 13 players named, nine played defense in the SEC. Three were SEC receivers (Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley and Jarvis Landry) and one Big 12 player (Kansas State DE Jordan Willis).
And when it came to frequency, only SEC defenders were named by multiple players.
Here’s a look at the full results with the votes in parenthesis:
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama (3)
Jamal Adams, S, LSU (2)
Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU (2)
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee (2)
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida (2)
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (1)
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama (1)
Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn (1)
Arden Key, DE/LB LSU (1)
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU (1)
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M (1)
Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt (1)
Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State (1)
Foster received the most votes with three. The San Francisco 49ers chose the Butkus Award winner with the 31st overall pick April 27.
Only two players, Ridley and Key, will still be at their respective schools this season.