2017 SEC unit rankings: Which team has the best secondary?

GN continues its SEC unit rankings series with secondaries.

The league is home to the nation’s best defensive back, though no one seems quite sure what position — corner, nickel or safety — he will play this season. No matter: He will stand out wherever he ends up. As far as secondary units, though, the league appears a bit down this season.

That’s because two of the three league teams that profess to be “DBU” — Florida and LSU — don’t appear to be quite as strong in the secondary as usual. LSU lost two first-round picks from its secondary and Florida had three second-rounders; in addition, the Gators lost a key member to a season-ending Achilles injury in the offseason. The other “DBU” team, of course, is Alabama, and the Tide … well, you’ll have to read on.

The first position group was the offensive backfield, and receiving corps (including tight ends), offensive lines, defensive lines and linebackers also have been covered. After the secondaries, we’ll close the series with a look at the league’s special teams.

One thing with the rankings: Proven production (generally) trumps potential.

MISSISSIPPI STATE’s BRANDON BRYANT, by Mansell Guerry/Mississippi State athletics

14. Mississippi State

The good: Junior S Brandon Bryant looked like a future star as a freshman in 2015; he looked as if he should be benched last season. If he reverts to 2015 form, the Bulldogs will be happy.
The bad: My goodness, this group was rancid last season. MSU was last in the league and 120th in the nation in pass defense. The safeties have a chance to be OK, but the corners remain a giant question mark.

13. Missouri

The good: Both starting safeties are back and both are seniors.
The bad: Those returning starters at safety? Well, they may not start this fall because they were inconsistent last season. There will be new starting cornerbacks; can sophomores DeMarkus Acy and Christian Holmes get the job done? Mizzou was 12th in the league in pass defense last season.

RELATED: The SEC’s top 50 players for 2017

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