Our #CFBrank panel of writers, reporters, analysts and Insiders has ranked the top 50 players in college football, and 10 defensive standouts made the cut.
Florida State's Derwin James earned the top overall ranking of any player, offense or defense, according to our experts. Arguably the most versatile player in the sport, he spent most of the past year rehabbing his knee and learning more about playing safety, cornerback, linebacker and defensive end.
Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 7) and Clemson DL Christian Wilkins (No. 8) are the next defensive players on the list. Fitzpatrick recorded 111 tackles and eight interceptions during the past two seasons, while Wilkins compiled 13 tackles for loss and 20 quarterback pressures in 2016.
Houston DT Ed Oliver (No. 9) received first-team All-American honors last season thanks to his 47 solo tackles. DE Harold Landry of Boston College (No. 15) led the nation with seven forced fumbles and 16.5 sacks in 2016. Wilkins' Clemson teammate, DT Dexter Lawrence (No. 17), was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year.
How would you rank the nation's top defensive players? Vote up or down on the ranking below ...
LSU DE Arden Key, Florida State DE Josh Sweat, DB Tarvarus McFadden and DT Derrick Nnadi, Washington DL Vita Vea and LB Azeem Victor, N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb, USC DB Iman Marshall, Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard and DL Tyquan Lewis, Alabama LB Rashaan Evans and S Ronnie Harrison, Michigan DE Rashan Gary and DT Maurice Hurst, Wisconsin LB Jack Cichy, and Utah DT Lowell Lotulelei round out our experts' top 50 overall players.
-- Nick Ostiller