Post-spring position rankings: Secondary

With spring practice in the rear-view mirror, we continue to look at each ACC team by position. Here, we look at the defensive backs. Again, we are not ranking the position groups from top to bottom, but we're looking at the position as a whole on each team. Great starters help. So, too, does depth.

1. Florida State: Rarely does a team lose a top-five pick from its back end and still have the best secondary in the league, but that's the case with FSU, despite the loss of Jalen Ramsey. Derwin James is the next superstar in line after a freshman All-America campaign in 2015, and vets like Nate Andrews and Marquez White make this unit dangerous to throw against.

2. Louisville: Every starter and most key reserves return for the Cardinals, led by the decision of third-team All-ACC safety Josh Harvey-Clemons to put the draft off for another year. The DBs will be working with two new full-time coaches in 2016: Keith Heyward and Cort Dennison.

3. Boston College: The Eagles bring everyone back but third-round draft pick Justin Simmons from a unit that was tops in the ACC in passing defense (and sixth nationally) in 2015. Anthony Campanile is now in charge of the group, which will be led by Isaac Yiadom and Will Harris.

4. Clemson: The Tigers' DBs are a tough group to gauge after suffering so much turnover this past year. Corner Adrian Baker's 2016 is in doubt now after a spring ACL tear, leaving Cordrea Tankersley as the only returning starter. Safety depth is a concern, although promising former reserves like corners Ryan Carter and Mark Fields are reasons for optimism, as is Clemson's recent history of reloading on defense.

5. North Carolina: The Tar Heels had the No. 3 passing defense in the ACC last season under first-year assistant Charlton Warren, another sign of the defensive overhaul coordinator Gene Chizik conducted in Year 1 in Chapel Hill. With almost all of the familiar faces back -- including corners Des Lawrence and M.J. Stewart -- UNC could find itself climbing up this chart throughout the season.

6. Pitt: Pat Narduzzi has placed Jordan Whitehead in rarified air when talking about the safety. And if the reigning ACC rookie of the year being just a sophomore isn't reason enough for Pitt to get excited about its secondary, then the fact all but one starter return from last year's unit -- along with plenty of young, talented faces -- certainly is.

7. Virginia Tech: "DBU" sure has talent, but questions remain: Will Brandon Facyson be at full health in 2016? How long will Adonis Alexander be suspended? Chuck Clark and Terrell Edmunds are strong, but depth could be a concern for the Hokies.

8. Duke: Three of four starters are back, and that doesn't even include corner Bryon Fields, who missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. Still, reigning league defensive player of the year Jeremy Cash is gone, and this unit finished just 12th in the ACC against the pass with Cash aboard.

9. Virginia: Quin Blanding alone makes the Cavaliers' secondary a dangerous unit, as he followed a freshman All-America campaign by earning multiple All-American honors in 2015. Returning starter Kelvin Rainey next to him is a big plus, too. But UVA will have to break in two new starters at corner this year.

10. Miami: Questions surround this unit from a depth perspective, especially after losing drafted players like Artie Burns and Deon Bush. Even with them, the Hurricanes were mediocre against the pass last season, but they do have familiar faces back in corner Corn Elder and safeties Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter.

11. NC State: Replacing fourth-round draft pick Juston Burris won't be easy. Corners Michael Stevens and Jack Tocho are back and will play more as starters in 2016, and Dravious Wright is a strong nickel. Josh Jones is reliable at safety, too.

12. Wake Forest: Two starters are back from the ACC's No. 6 pass defense from a year ago. Dave Clawson is optimistic that one of those, safety Ryan Janvion, will be in good health again come this summer. There is much better depth at safety now, and Brad Watson is a reliable cornerback.

13. Syracuse: Everyone returns, but the green unit was often burned badly last season when tested by proven passers. The group is adjusting to a new Tampa 2 scheme, and sophomore Kielan Whitner has jumped to the top of the depth chart at strong safety. One other potential concern: The status of the two spring stabbing victims, Corey Winfield and Chauncey Scissum, who were both starting DBs last season.

14. Georgia Tech: Every starter from last year is gone. The good news is there are expected starters who saw a lot of time last season -- namely, corners Lance Austin and Lawrence Austin and safeties A.J. Gray and Corey Griffin. Corner Step Durham is another experienced reserve who will be asked to do much more this season.