Editor’s note: The following exercise was conducted by SEC Country columnists Jay Clemons, Knox Bardeen and Brandon Adams along with Alabama beat reporter Alex Smith. Grades were given by editor Alec Shirkey.
In the spirit of last weekend’s NFL draft, SEC Country decided to hold a draft of its own — with a college twist, of course. Four of our writers set out to draft a 7-on-7 “playground” football team comprised of the SEC’s current best players for the 2016 season. Each roster consists of seven starters and one sub, so that there were 32 overall picks in this snake-style draft. Because it is 7-on-7, players play both ways. The allotted roster spots were:
- 1 QB/DB
- 1 RB/LB
- 2 WR/DB
- 3 OL/DL
- 1 All-purpose
The goal was to assemble the best team possible (duh). Grades were handed out based on overall roster construction and draft savvy. Each writer has explained his picks in a separate post, which you can find here.
So without further ado:
- CLEMONS — RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
- BARDEEN — DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
- ADAMS — RB Nick Chubb, UGA
- SMITH — WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
- SMITH — QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
- ADAMS — QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
- BARDEEN — DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
- CLEMONS — LB Tim Williams, Alabama
- CLEMONS — WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
- BARDEEN — RB Jalen Hurd, Tennessee
- ADAMS — CB Jalen Tabor, Florida
- SMITH — CB Cameron Sutton, Tennessee
- SMITH — OL Cam Robinson, Alabama
- ADAMS — DE Charles Harris, Missouri
- BARDEEN — DE Arden Key, LSU
- CLEMONS — DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
- CLEMONS — WR Fred Ross, Mississippi State
- BARDEEN — CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
- ADAMS — WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
- SMITH — DE Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss
- SMITH — LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
- ADAMS — RB Sony Michel, UGA
- BARDEEN — WR Malachi Dupre, LSU
- CLEMONS — OT Dan Skipper, Arkansas
- CLEMONS — DL Carl Lawson, Auburn
- BARDEEN — OT Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
- ADAMS — WR Travin Dural, LSU
- SMITH — DB Jamal Adams, LSU
- SMITH — DL Deatrich Wise, Jr., Arkansas
- ADAMS — OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
- BARDEEN — QB John Franklin III, Auburn
- CLEMONS — QB Trevor Knight, Texas A&M
- RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
- LB Tim Williams, Alabama
- WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
- DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
- WR Fred Ross, Mississippi State
- OT Dan Skipper, Arkansas
- DL Carl Lawson, Auburn
- QB Trevor Knight, Texas A&M
- DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
- DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
- RB Jalen Hurd, Tennessee
- LB Arden Key, LSU
- DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
- WR Malachi Dupre, LSU
- OT Isaiah Wynn, UGA
- QB John Franklin III, Auburn
- RB Nick Chubb, UGA
- QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
- DB Jalen Tabor, Florida
- DE Charles Harris, Missouri
- WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
- RB Sony Michel, UGA
- WR Travin Dural, LSU
- OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
- WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
- QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
- DB Cam Sutton, Tennessee
- OL Cam Robinson, Alabama
- DE Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss
- LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
- DB Jamal Adams, LSU
- DL Deatrich Wise, Jr., Arkansas
Team Clemons: A-
Hard to argue about any of the first four picks. Ross might be somewhat of a reach at No. 17 overall, but Skipper and Lawson make up for it and Knight in the eighth round is a great value pick.
Jay will have to hope Kirk and Ross can play some defense, too, but given that two of the three other quarterbacks in this league are Franklin III and Dobbs, he can’t be terribly worried.
Team Bardeen: C+
If Knox was an NFL team, he would be the Houston Texans, which drafted Notre Dame receiver Will Fuller in the first round of last weekend’s draft — a player with excellent speed and not much else.
The comparable Team Bardeen pick here is the final one. Of the four quarterbacks drafted, Franklin III is definitely the least polished and the least accomplished. He could be the least talented passer, as well. He supposedly has 4.3 speed, which I’m sure is nice, but nobody’s really seen that flaunted in a true SEC game yet. And who knows if he can even throw the dang ball? If not, that likely diminishes Dupre’s value.
Wynn is liable to lose his old job to Rhode Island grad transfer Tyler Catalina this season. Either the Atlantic 10 is suddenly pumping out talented offensive lineman, or Knox could have found someone better here.
Garrett is an athletic freak deserving of first-round status. The defensive line will be unstoppable, and Hurd is a solid third-rounder. But this offense will not be fantastic if forced to throw the ball, to say the least.
Team Adams: C+
Folks are awfully high on Dobbs and Tennessee these days, and the SEC is lacking in experienced passers, but I’m not sure Dobbs couldn’t have been drafted at least two or three rounds later. The Reynolds pick is a bit of a head-scratcher, too. (Florida’s Antonio Callaway might be suspended from NCAA play, but coach Jim McElwain can’t stop him from playing street ball.)
Poor Greg Little. The five-star 2016 signee would be tasked with blocking Garrett, Williams, Allen and Barnett (among others) in this hypothetical 7-on-7 league. At least we know Coach Adams didn’t need to break any NCAA recruiting rules in order to land Ole Miss’ tackle of the future.
The picks that save this team are Chubb, Harris and Tabor, the last of which grades out very highly as a defender and as a trash-talker. Not sure how nobody in Gainesville has taken that Twitter account away yet.
Team Smith: B+
Anyone who’s played NFL Street knows the two most important positions in playground football are quarterback and running back. Alex took the best quarterback, but it looks like Foster will be his de facto ball-carrier — a head-scratcher in a conference full of good rushers. No Bo Scarbrough? No one wants to save Ralph Webb from Vanderbilt’s offensive black hole?
Other than that gripe, Alex’s draft is pretty solid. A Kelly-Ridley passing game combo sounds unfair even if Ridley in the first round might be a bit premature, and the defense should be almost as good as the real-life Alabama defense. Haynes and Wise are both underrated pass-rushers.