The SEC's best 25 players: No. 16

Our next player in the countdown of the SEC's best 25 players is big body up front who is moving back to his more natural and more dominating position of defensive tackle this fall.

No. 16: Dominique Easley, DT, Florida, Sr.

2012 summary: Easley played and started in 11 games last year. He finished the season with 26 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, and had a team-high four sacks. He also added a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2012 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Easley: He might not have made much of an indent on the stat sheet last year, but Easley was one of the league's most disruptive players up front. Easley was constantly breaking through opposing offensive lines, chasing quarterbacks and running backs all around most games. What made him so valuable to the Gators' front was his ability to create a lot of plays for his teammates, especially All-SEC first-teamer Sharrif Floyd. Easley has hardly been fully healthy during his Florida career, but he said this summer that he finally felt 100 percent during January's Sugar Bowl. In that game, Easley recorded five tackles against Louisville, including 3.5 for loss. Easley is at full health and is moving back to his more natural position of defensive tackle. That could do wonders for the versatile linemen, who will still move to end at times to give offenses different looks. Easley's athleticism and strength make him a prime candidate to be one of the best players at his position this fall. NFL scouts have raved about his talent since his freshmen year and love how fast he is off of the line. If Easley can stay healtyh this fall, he could play his way into a first-round draft prospect.

The rundown

  • No. 17: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M, RSo.

  • No. 18: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State, Sr.

  • No. 19: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama, Jr.

  • No. 20: Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas, Sr.

  • No. 21: Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia, So.

  • No. 22: Craig Loston, S, LSU, Sr.

  • No. 23: Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt, Sr.

  • No. 24: Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia, So.

  • No. 25: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida, Jr.