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Top 5 SEC Offensive players


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Written by JOSEPH PERSON

jperson @thestate.com

Trying to narrow the SEC’s best offensive players to a list of five is like attempting to pick your favorite Bond girl – so many choices, so many different talents.

But five is a manageable number, and each of the following will have a big say in who hoists the trophy in December inside the Georgia Dome.

Did some deserving players get left out? Sure, but this isn’t a preseason magazine that fills up a fourth-team, all-conference squad with players who haven’t taken a snap (The State’s list of top five newcomers is coming soon).

This is an elite club – the best of the SEC.

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

What, you thought we weren’t going to put the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at the top? We’ve heard the talk about how Ingram might not be the Crimson Tide’s best tailback. And while sophomore Trent Richardson might be faster and more explosive than Ingram, there is a reason he is the complementary back — because Ingram’s low center of gravity and his tough running style are the perfect fit for Nick Saban’s grind-it-out, control-the-clock approach. One measure of a back is how he performs when everyone in the stadium knows he’s getting the ball. Watch Ingram on Alabama’s game-clinching drive against USC last October, and find someone more deserving of the title of the SEC’s best offensive player.

2. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

With apologies to Alabama’s Julio Jones, the SEC’s best receiver resides in Athens. The 6-foot-4 native of Summerville runs silky smooth routes, has tremendous leaping ability and goes up and catches balls at their highest point. Green went over 800 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons despite missing three-plus games last year with shoulder and rib injuries. If he stays healthy, Green should have a huge junior season — which almost certainly would be his last one at Georgia.

3. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

A strong-armed quarterback poised to help his team threaten Alabama in the West. Sound familiar? Well, if you’re expecting Mallett to do a Jevan Snead-like face plant, don’t hold your breath. For starters, Mallett plays in Bobby Petrino’s proven passing system and has at his disposal a number of gifted receivers, including tight end D.J. Williams. And then there are Mallett’s physical tools — a 6-foot-7 frame and rifle of a right arm. Mallett might not match his ’09 numbers (a school-record 3,624 passing yards, 30 TDs, 7 INTs), but it will be fun watching him fling the ball around.

4. Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky

Cobb is not as polished a receiver as Green or USC’s Alshon Jeffery, but he is lightning with the ball in his hands. The former quarterback does it all for the Wildcats, finishing as the lone player in the SEC last season with at least 300 yards in receiving, rushing and punt and kick returns. And any time his offense looks like it could use a spark, first-year coach Joker Phillips can put Cobb at quarterback in the WildCobb formation. Wherever Cobb lines up, he often ends up in the end zone: His 15 touchdowns in 2009 were second in the league behind Ingram.

5. Mike Pouncey, C, Florida

Kind of different that the key offensive piece for the high-flying Gators would be their center. But the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Pouncey is the protector who will try to ensure the transition from Tim Tebow to John Brantley is a smooth one. Pouncey slides from guard to replace his twin brother, Maurkice, who left school early and was a first-round selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike Pouncey, who has started 28 consecutive games, will try to keep the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation’s top center, in the family for the second year in a row.

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Not because I'm a homer (well, maybe just a little), but I'd put A.J. Green ahead of Mark Ingram eventhough Ingram is a Heisman winner. Ingram is a great running back, but he's had the luxury of a great offensive line to open up holes for him. A.J., on the other hand, is more of a playmaker and has constantly had to fight off double coverage and STILL make amazing catches.

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Not because I'm a homer (well, maybe just a little), but I'd put A.J. Green ahead of Mark Ingram eventhough Ingram is a Heisman winner. Ingram is a great running back, but he's had the luxury of a great offensive line to open up holes for him. A.J., on the other hand, is more of a playmaker and has constantly had to fight off double coverage and STILL make amazing catches.

It makes no honest difference does it? Ingram had a good o-line, but he also juked and trucked so many defenders it almost lost meaning. He won the Heisman so he rightfully deserves to be on top.

AJ Green deserves the #2 spot... and it's hardly an insult.

I have to laugh at Pouncey being on the list though. Cobb is a deserving player, but having Pouncey on there.... really? He's far from being what will make UF's offense dangerous, which isn't something you can say about anyone else on this list.

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Not because I'm a homer (well, maybe just a little), but I'd put A.J. Green ahead of Mark Ingram eventhough Ingram is a Heisman winner. Ingram is a great running back, but he's had the luxury of a great offensive line to open up holes for him. A.J., on the other hand, is more of a playmaker and has constantly had to fight off double coverage and STILL make amazing catches.

Ingram is a Heisman winner and was the best offensive player on a team that won the National Championship. Credit the players around him all you want but Ingram carried the team in some games (the South Carolina game comes immediately to mind). A.J. Green is solid, and is deservedly ranked #2 on the list, but he does not bring Ingram's credentials to the table.

And another thought on that is, similar to what Tim Tebow seemed to always do at Florida, Ingram makes the players around him better. At times, our offensive line did not block a run play that effectively but Ingram made something happen and made his teammates look good in the process. I understand it is not easy to make a QB like Joe Cox look good but the truly elite players (which I think A.J. Green is getting to that level) improve the play of those around them.

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Ingram is a Heisman winner and was the best offensive player on a team that won the National Championship. Credit the players around him all you want but Ingram carried the team in some games (the South Carolina game comes immediately to mind). A.J. Green is solid, and is deservedly ranked #2 on the list, but he does not bring Ingram's credentials to the table.

And another thought on that is, similar to what Tim Tebow seemed to always do at Florida, Ingram makes the players around him better. At times, our offensive line did not block a run play that effectively but Ingram made something happen and made his teammates look good in the process. I understand it is not easy to make a QB like Joe Cox look good but the truly elite players (which I think A.J. Green is getting to that level) improve the play of those around them.

No argument from this dawg fan.

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It makes no honest difference does it? Ingram had a good o-line, but he also juked and trucked so many defenders it almost lost meaning. He won the Heisman so he rightfully deserves to be on top.

AJ Green deserves the #2 spot... and it's hardly an insult.

I have to laugh at Pouncey being on the list though. Cobb is a deserving player, but having Pouncey on there.... really? He's far from being what will make UF's offense dangerous, which isn't something you can say about anyone else on this list.

Yep it makes no difference whether aj is #1 or #2. He could very well be the best player this coming year goodness knows he has the skills and ability to do it even with having a player like joe cox get him the ball he still did great last year. I have to laugh at Pouncey as well.

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Yep it makes no difference whether aj is #1 or #2. He could very well be the best player this coming year goodness knows he has the skills and ability to do it even with having a player like joe cox get him the ball he still did great last year. I have to laugh at Pouncey as well.

Yeah man... we've got Mark Ingram, AJ Green, Ryan Mallett, Randall Cobb... legit playmakers... and then Mike Pouncey, who isn't even the best OL in the conference.

I expected to see a Florida player on the list... just didn't think it would be an OL. Maybe UF really is in trouble this year. :lol:

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Yeah man... we've got Mark Ingram, AJ Green, Ryan Mallett, Randall Cobb... legit playmakers... and then Mike Pouncey, who isn't even the best OL in the conference.

I expected to see a Florida player on the list... just didn't think it would be an OL. Maybe UF really is in trouble this year. :lol:

Maybe they are in more trouble than anyone thinks. :P LOL. he isn't the best olinemen in the sec and yet he is in on this list.. bad bad addition.

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