Pro Football Focus has identified three SEC players that stand out from the rest in terms of improvement during the 2016 season.
Those three are Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Arkansas center Frank Ragnow and Kentucky defensive back Derrick Baity.
On Foster: Pro Football Focus’ analysis team believes that Foster has taken the step from “a very good player” to “one of the elite players in the nation” this season. According to the site’s stats, Foster has made a “tackle resulting in a defensive stop on 14.9 percent of snaps against the run this season.” That is up from 9.5 percent last season. His missed tackle rating has also improved from one miss every 9.6 tackle attempts to one every 20.5 attempts in 2016. On the year, Foster has accumulated 53 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries.
On Ragnow: The Arkansas center has been Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded center as a run blocker, and has a better blocking efficiency this season than last when he played guard. The site’s analysis team views him as one of the nation’s top centers this season.
On Baity: The Kentucky defensive back gave up a reception on 68.2 percent of passes thrown his way last season, according to Pro Football Focus. This year, that number is down to 54.5 percent. Baity allowed an average of 1.53 yards per coverage snap in 2015, which is down to 1.16 in 2016. On the season, he has two interceptions and five pass breakups.