Pinpointing the top defenders after spring practice is no simple task.
Sure, many SEC observers could have picked out Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney at this time last year.
Few would have thought Missouri defensive end Michael Sam would beat both out for Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013 (though Sam split the coaches' award with Mosley).
Even fewer would have projected that Clowney wouldn’t be the most productive defensive lineman for the Gamecocks. Yet tackle Kelcy Quarles finished with stronger numbers (more tackles for loss and sacks) than his overshadowing ex-teammate.
Here is a list of the SEC’s five top defensive players after spring practice.