Linebacker will be a star-studded position for the SEC in 2014, with many teams having extremely deep linebacker corps. In the conference, the most effective outside linebackers get free and get to the quarterback. While you could go in a couple of different directions with these picks, my picks for All-SEC outside backer are Leonard Floyd of the Georgia Bulldogs and Kyle Woestmann of the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Floyd is primed for a monster year. He exploded into the scene last year as a freshman, accumulating 6.5 sacks to go with 9.5 tackles for loss. There were moments during his first season in Athens when he looked unblockable.
The Bulldogs may have the deepest linebacker unit in the nation, so Floyd is surrounded by talent. With Jordan Jenkins on the other side, it will be impossible for teams to key in on Floyd. The combination of talent around him and Floyd’s tremendous size and speed makes him a top choice at his position. He will lead the conference in sacks in 2014.
My other choice, Woestmann, is a bit of an unconventional choice because he played defensive end a year ago. However, he managed to grab six sacks and seven tackles for loss in 2013. This season, with the Commodores switching to a 3-4, Woestmann should have more opportunities to produce.
Woestmann doesn’t play on a star-studded defense like Floyd, but still managed to keep pace with Floyd, finishing just behind him in statistical categories and landing in the top 10 in sacks last season. With a new coach manning the sidelines for Vandy and a lot to prove, I expect Woestmann to be the leader on defense for the Commodores and to have a breakout season.
These two have the statistical resume and ability to be impact players in the front seven. They will be at the top of the stat sheet when it’s all said and done and land on many All-SEC lists by season’s end.