Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All-League Selections: Defense

If you haven't seen the new Marky M rap, now is as good a time as any to check it out. And check it out you must. Moving on, yesterday's all-conference selections generated so much buzz that I thought we better tackle the defensive side as well.

First Team

Defensive Tackle

- Roy Miller (Texas). I think Miller warrants serious consideration (though he won't get it) for defensive player of the year in the league. His push up the middle and occupying of blockers was as big a reason as any for Texas' league best defense. Stats never tell the story with these guys, yet he produced there as well, finishing with 46 tackles, 10 for a loss, 4.5 sacks and 4 pass break-ups.
- Ndamukong Suh (NU). I'm not entirely sold on the blackshirt defense, but Suh is an elite tackle and takes them to another level. Incredibly quick for his size, he led the team with 68 tackles, 15 for a loss, mixing in 5.5 sacks and 2 interceptions.

Defensive End

- Brian Orakpo (Texas). An athletic freak that was slowed by injury through the latter part of the season, Orakpo was a terror coming off the edge and in the run game. In semi-limited duty he recorded 18 tackles for loss, 10.5 of them sacks and generated 27 QB pressures and 4 forced fumbles. Whoever has to go up against him after another month of healing could be in for a long day.
- Jeremy Beal (OU). Beal was by no means a no-name coming into the year, but he'd been overshadowed by English. That was not the case this year as he racked up 49 tackles, 14 for a loss, & 8.5 sacks. He also broke up 4 passes and forced 3 fumbles.


- Roddrick Muckelroy (Texas).
Muckelroy is in no way flashy (0 sacks), but his size and speed let him play in every direction. He benefits from Miller occupying blockers, but the gaps still have to be filled and the ball carrier to be tackled. He did both well, finishing with 106 tackles on the season, 43 more than the next closest on his league best unit.
- Joe Pawelek (Baylor). Seriously. This guy can play. The anchor on a much improved (but still struggling) Bear defense. he finished the season with 128 tackles, 6 of them for a loss. He also registered 6 interceptions, 5 QB hurries and recovered a couple of fumbles.
- Travis Lewis (OU). While not great in coverage, he remains an incredibly sure tackler and disruptive force. On the season he has 123 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, 3.5 of them sacks and 4 INTs. They still miss Reynolds more than one can imagine, but Lewis has picked up the slack to a degree.


- Cha'pelle Brown (Colorado). Stuck on an awful team with a worse offense, the Buffalo defense wasn't too bad this year. And their pass defense was surprisingly decent as well, with Brown leading the way. On the year he had 84 tackles and 10 pass break-ups.
- Dominique Franks (OU). I'm hesitant to put a third Sooner on this unit, let alone one from the secondary. But frankly, there just aren't any standout corners in the league, which is likely more due to the QBs than anything, but still. For the season, Franks has 32 tackles, 9 passes defended and 4 picks. Not stellar, but if you've seen many scores over the past 2 months you know why.


- Darrell Stuckey (Kansas). I'm sure I'll get crap for this one considering the KU pass defense this year, but Stuckey was not the problem. To show just how much he did for Kansas' defense, see the 94 tackles he registered from the safety spot, four of them for a loss. He also broke up 7 passes, intercepting five and forced two fumbles. His unit had its issues, but they'd have been magnified without Stuckey around.
- Darcel McBath (Tech). I might be a little biased from that third quarter in Lawrence, but that proof is in the pudding. McBath has 70 tackles on the season, 7 passes defended and 6 interceptions.

Second Team

DT: Gerald McCoy (OU) & Colby Whitlock (Tech). Both should garner some first team mention, but I think fall well short of Miller and slightly behind Suh.

DE: Stryker Sulak (MU) & Brandon Williams (Tech). Here I think there's a pretty clear bridge to cross. Both had great season's combining for 19.5 sacks and 9 passes defended, but both Orakpo and Beal really separated from the pack here. McKinner Dixon deserves some consideration as well.

LB: Brian Duncan (Tech), Sean Weatherspoon (MU) and James Holt (Kansas). Next in line would be Kindle who Muschamp used extremely well as a blitzing backer this year. But Duncan was as big a part of tech's defensive improvement as anyone, Weatherspoon has 126 tackles and Holt does a little bit of everything (97 tackles, 15.5 for loss, 7 sacks, & 6 forced fumbles).

S: Lendy Holmes (OU) & Earl Thomas (Texas). I also think Lake deserves some recognition, but I didn't quite see him enough to understand what he meant to Baylor's unit. And while these two have both been exposed plenty, they've both had great years considering the league and may well get first team recognition. Holmes has 72 tackles and 4 INTs while Thomas has 63 tackles and 15 passes defended, 2 of them INTs.

CB: Ryan Palmer (Texas) & Joshua Moore (KSU). These may be my most questionable picks of all. Palmer may not be the best corner on his own team (though I think he's the most consistent) and Moore played on the worst defense in the conference. But as mentioned, we really have to take some of what we've seen with a grain of salt considering the offenses they go against. And Palmer finished the year with a respectable 30 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 passes defended and 3 INTs. And frankly, Moore had the best season of anyone statistically with 76 tackles, 5 for a loss and 15 passes defended, 3 of them interceptions.

As always, please disagree as much as possible because I'm sure I overlooked and/or overrated someone. *UPDATE* The coaches selections were released today. And after seeing them, I feel a lot better about the teams I put together (see: Jorvorskie Lane and his 35 carries for 95 yards and 5 TDs on the second team). I understand why coaches make lazy selections (this is the last thing on their mind), but I'll be interested to see how similarly lazy the media is with their vote. Also, how crazy is it that Todd Reesing doesn't even get honorable mention when in every conference but the SEC (Tebow) and possibly the Big East (White) he'd likely be the first team pick? The same could likely be argued for Robinson and Ganz.


Raefzilla said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the way honorable mentions work is that if a player gets ANY vote for first or second team, he qualifies for HM. Thus, it is reasonable that not a single voter would have voted Reesing as 1st or 2nd team QB over Bradford, McCoy, Harrell, or Daniel. So its not really a slight to Reesing, though it does appear odd.

Still, it is pretty funny that Ryan Cantrell made HM and Reesing did not (Who the hell voted for Cantrell?)

Hiphopopotamus said...

You're correct and that's the first thing I remembered also. It's completely understandable why he didn't merit HM, but it just resonates how incredible this conference is offensively.

As for Cantrell, I wasn't too surprised to see him get a vote. After Jon Cooper there really isn't another really good center in the league and Cantrell was clearly our best lineman. The one that caught me off guard was Adrian Mayes.