Now that we've finished talking about what some of the top offensive players could do in the SEC this fall, it's time to take a look at the defensive side of the ball.
Today, we're talking sacks and who could reach double digits in that category in 2016.
Last year, the league saw four players record five double-digit sacks. Unfortunately for SEC quarterbacks, all of them are back: Texas A&M's Myles Garrett (12.5), Alabama's Jonathan Allen (12), Alabama's Tim Williams (10.5), Tennessee's Derek Barnett (10) and Ole Miss' Marquis Haynes (10).
So how many players will reach double-digit sacks in 2016? I'm sticking with five.
1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: Yeah, like I'm going to keep the SEC's best pass-rusher off this list. In 25 career games, Garrett has 24 sacks. The future top-10 draft pick should have no trouble getting back into double digits.
2. Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss: In two seasons with the Rebels, the soft-spoken, slender Haynes has 17 sacks. He had seven as a freshman in more of a third-down specialist role. With how deep and talented Ole Miss' line is, teams won't be able to double-team him.
3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee: Even after a slow start to his sophomore year, Barnett got to 10 sacks last year. Well, he's very upset at himself for his sluggish start and is even angrier at the fact that he missed spring because of injury. He'll be on a mission to inflict pain this fall.
4. Carl Lawson, Auburn: After missing most of last year with a hip injury, Lawson decided to come back to the Plains for one last season. In the half of a game he played before his injury, Lawson was so dominant again Louisville. A healthy Lawson is frightening, and that's what he'll be this fall.
5. Tim Williams, Alabama: A pleasant surprise for the Tide last year, Williams looked scary good this spring, especially in the spring game, and should once again terrorize quarterback this fall. Plus, he'll be even more seasoned, which will make him insufferable to deal with on the field.
6. Charles Harris, Missouri: The Tigers always have a ferocious pass-rusher, and Harris has all the tools to be that guy. He was solid last year, getting seven sacks through the first nine games of the season. With the talent joining him up front, it'll be tough to double-team Harris, who should be even better this fall.
7. Jonathan Allen, Alabama: OK, so he hit 12 sacks last year and should have gone to the NFL. Why is he so far down on the list? It's not a shot at Allen at all, but I think the improving talent around him will take away from his production. Williams is one thing, but then there's the emergence of Ryan Anderson (six sacks), add the incredibly explosive Rashaan Evans (four sacks) and get ready for up-and-comer Da'Shawn Hand (three sacks), and Alabama is loaded when it comes to getting to the quarterback.
8. Lewis Neal, LSU: Neal turned down the NFL after leading the Tigers with eight sacks last year. Neal could be a special player in Dave Aranda's defense, which will help him be even more aggressive on the outside.
9. Deatrich Wise Jr., Arkansas: The Razorbacks' best defensive player last year led the team with eight sacks and was a pain for opposing backfields to deal with. He averaged .81 tackles for loss per game last year
10. Arden Key, LSU: Another freak in Baton Rouge, Key registered five sacks as a freshman, and his coaches are very, very excited about the talent and athleticism this youngster has. Key could be a star.
11. Bryan Cox Jr., Florida: The Gators are looking for edge rushers and Cox is a budding playmaker on this defense. He only had 3.5 sacks last year, but posted 10.5 TFLs. With Jonathan Bullard and Alex McCallister gone, Cox will get even more time to harass quarterbacks.
12. Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M: The guy opposite Garrett is a bad man. He had seven sacks last year, but four of them came in the season opener. So some perspective is needed here, but Hall should always get plenty of opportunities with Garrett taking most of the attention.