Earlier today, we looked at the best secondaries in the SEC. Now, we’ll take a look at the best defensive backs in the conference.
1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama: Arguably the nation's most versatile defensive back, Fitzpatrick can play every position in Alabama's secondary. He started the spring at corner, but moved to safety. In two seasons, Fitzpatrick has eight interceptions and a school-record four interceptions returned for touchdowns. Fitzpatrick, the No. 2 player on Mel Kiper Jr.'s 2018 Big Board, can be a stalking ball hawk in the very back of Alabama's defense or he can rough things up in the box with the big boys.
2. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama: Harrison might get overshadowed by Fitzpatrick, but he'll make a real name for himself this fall. He's an incredibly aggressive player who still has exceptional cover skills. He was second on the team with 86 tackles and picked off two passes, including one that went for a touchdown. He also recovered two fumbles last year, one going for a touchdown, and defended nine passes.
3. Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky: Not many people really know who Edwards is, but that should change in 2017. There are some in Lexington who think Edwards was Kentucky's best defender last year after he was the only defensive back to register 100 or more tackles. He picked off three passes and defended 11. He also registered 5.5 tackles for loss and had 56 solo tackles. A strong junior season could get him some NFL love in 2017.
4. Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn: If you want flashy stats, Davis is not your guy. But if you want a lockdown corner who frustrates quarterbacks and receivers, Davis is your guy. His numbers dipped last year, as injuries played a part in that, but teams also stopped throwing at him. He's been a starter for the past two seasons, and when he's healthy, he's a major headache for receivers.
5. Duke Dawson, CB/S, Florida: There's no question that Dawson is one of the more athletic defensive backs in the SEC, but this ranking is more based on potential. Dawson, who was Florida's top nickelback last year, is moving to the boundary corner position, where he doesn't have a ton of experience with the Gators. However, he had a very good spring and he's shown in the past that he can be very successful in one-on-one situations. Plus, if the Gators need him to move around the secondary, he can surely do that.