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2014 SEC Preseason Football Position Rankings: Offensive Line

In a measure designed to help us all avoid the doldrums that are summer life without football, we – those that make up the SEC blogosphere here at SB Nation – will be voting once a week until football season, ranking the position groups for SEC football as we count down to the first weekend of the season. Our second position group ranking focuses on the offensive line.

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

Well, week one of our position rankings was a lot of fun. as writers and readers from just about every team blog came to debate, debunk and devour the SEC bloggers' Defensive Line Rankings. Now we get ready to move on to the other side of the ball to take a look at the other big uglies paving the way in the trenches – the offensive line.

Last week's D-Line rankings saw typical poll topper Alabama take home the #1 position, but will they do it again?  Who takes #2, #3, and #4?  Let's jump right in. Here are your SEC football offensive line rankings from SB Nation's SEC bloggers.

Ballot Posts: And The Valley Shook, Dawg Sports, Garnet & Black Attack, Red Cup Rebellion, Rocky Top Talk

Key returnees/losses via SDS

1. Auburn (3 First Place Votes, 2.125 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: C Reese Dismukes
Key Losses: OT Greg Robinson
Our Thoughts:

-- Dismukes ... Slade ... Kozan ... yikes. (Rock M Nation)

-- I can't find myself voting for anyone but Auburn at the top. Sure, they lose the monster that was Greg Robinson, but amazing OL play is a hallmark of Malzahn's offense. What most stands out is that they were exceptional in all facets. (And The Valley Shook)

-- Auburn lost Greg Robinson. That's big, yes, but I believe Shon Coleman will start in his place and will be more than up to the task. And it's also going to get all the Tom Rinaldi feel-good stories with the cancer issues he's had. He was used last season as an OL and blocking TE, so he has big-game experience. Everyone else returns, including Alex Kozan and Reese Dismukes, who are on the Outland Trophy watch list. This will be a very good offensive line. They key for Auburn in blocking will be replacing Jay Prosch at H-back/FB, not on the front five. (College & Magnolia)

-- Auburn returns four of five starters on the offensive line after winning the SEC title. That's impressive. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Their sack percentage numbers aren't that great, but when you never throw the ball, that's not really an issue. The line's main responsibility is to help the run game, and they do that. (Team Speed Kills)

2. Texas A&M (3 First Place Votes, 2.375 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: OT Cedric Ogbuehi, C Mike Matthews, OG Jarvis Harrison

Key Losses: OT Jake Matthews
Our Thoughts:

-- Cedric Ogbuehi came back for his senior year to continue the recent trend of star Aggie left tackles. But Jarvis Harrison, Germaine Ifedi, and center Mike Matthews (yeah, one of *those* Matthews) have all played together for a long time, also. Only one spot to fill, and there are plenty of seasoned reserves to choose from. (Good Bull Hunting)

-- The Aggies just keep minting blue chip offensive linemen. Cedric Ogbuehi is next up. (Dawg Sports)

-- Don't even know what to say. Tackle factory. (Rock M Nation)

-- Loses another top-5-pick offensive tackle and somehow might improve as a unit. Four starters return to an effective unit. (And The Valley Shook)

-- Similar to Auburn, we'll see how the loss of a key tackle hurts. I don't know as much about A&M's depth to offer much, but I expect they'll be just fine. (College & Magnolia)

-- The Aggies will, yet again, have a top flight NFL offensive tackle prospect in Cedric Ogbuehi. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- How much did Johnny Manziel have to do with the strong numbers this team put up in yards per carry and sack percentage? We're about to find out. (Team Speed Kills)

3. South Carolina (2 First Place Votes, 3.375 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: OL AJ Cann, OL Brandon Shell, OL Corey Robinson
Key Losses:
Our Thoughts:

--South Carolina returns a stable of NFL prospects who should clear the way for Mike Davis. (Dawg Sports)

-- Huge, experienced, deep. (Rock M Nation)

-- Getting tons of hype, but I don't see it. Middle of the pack last year in both sacks and yards per rush, they should repeat that performance. Solid unit, but I don't think it is superlative. (And The Valley Shook)

-- South Carolina had a great line last year and return most of it. I expect them to have one of the top units in the SEC. (College & Magnolia)

-- This unit is led by the experienced A.J. Cann and Corey Robinson, who combine to form what is probably the best left side of any offensive line in the conference. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- There was a team that Steve Spurrier couldn't seem to field a decent offensive line in Columbia. This year, he has one of the most seasoned units in the conference. (Team Speed Kills)

4. LSU (4.125 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: OL La'El Collins, OL Vadal Alexander
Key Losses: OL Trai Turner

Our Thoughts:

-- Collins and Alexander are key. This is a really experienced unit. It'll need to be. (Rock M Nation)

-- Four starters back, plus another three key backups. New coach is a bit of a wildcard, but I think La'El Collins and Jerald Hawkins are the league's best returning bookend tackles. (And The Valley Shook)

-- La'el Collins is one of the SEC's best tackles. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Thoroughly decent at nearly everything. (Team Speed Kills)

5. Alabama (4.25 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: OL Arie Kouandjio, OL Austin Shepherd
Key Losses: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, OG Anthony Steen
Our Thoughts:

-- The rich stay richer. Again. (Good Bull Hunting)

-- I think Alabama's getting a lot of benefit of the doubt off of their reputation and recruiting, but it's a red flag to me that they brought in JUCO help, and that Cam Robinson was able to come in so quickly and take a starting job. (And The Valley Shook)

-- Alabama is returning very few starters, but one of those is the center. A good experienced center can help shore up things on the line quickly. (College & Magnolia)

-- The Crimson Tide should see a mix of youth and experience taking hold up front, with top tackle prospect Cam Robinson likely in the mix early and often. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- T.J. Yeldon and crew could make a lot of folks look good along the offensive line, but the Tide also did a decent job in pass protection. (Team Speed Kills)

Cedric Ogbuehi

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

6. Missouri (7.125 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: C Evan Boehm
Key Losses: OL Max Copeland, OL Justin Britt
Our Thoughts:

-- Great run stats, terrible sack stats. It's tough to get a read on Mizzou's unit. (And The Valley Shook)

-- Junior center Evan Boehm has an impressive 26 starts under his belt, having started every game of his college career as the Tigers' offensive anchor. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Third-most rushing yards in the conference last year, though we'll have to see how that holds up now that Henry Josey has moved on. (Team Speed Kills)

7. Arkansas (8 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: OL Brey Cook, OL Denver Kirkland
Key Losses: C Travis Swanson

Our Thoughts:

-- BERT is getting there...eventually. (Good Bull Hunting)

-- The Arky O-line was underrated last year. Losing Swanson hurts, but three starters are back. Size: not an issue. (Rock M Nation)

--They allowed 8 sacks last year and despite a talent-challenged backfield, the Hogs actually ranked fourth in the SEC in yards per carry. That's with two freshmen starting. Things look even brighter this year. (And The Valley Shook)

-- Allowed just eight sacks in 2013. Of course, their quarterbacks completed less than 50 percent of their passes, so opponents probably figured the best strategy was to just drop back and let the Hogs throw the ball all they wanted to. (Team Speed Kills)

8. Ole Miss (8.25 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: OT Laremy Tunsil
Key Losses: OT Pierce Burton
Our Thoughts:

-- Tunsil's back, which is good, but this is a really thin unit. (Rock M Nation)

-- Ole Miss is going to be a chic dark horse pick in the West, but they're going to have to find an offensive line and depth is very thin there. (And The Valley Shook)

-- Laremy Tunsil is an elite tackle, and Ole Miss has that. Beyond him, however, it's a series of question marks. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Not sure that they'll always provide Dr. Bo enough time to be surgically precise, given that they're losing three of last year's starters. (Team Speed Kills)

9. MSU (8.5 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: C Dillon Day, OG Justin Malone, OT Blaine Clausell
Key Losses: OG Gabe Jackson
Our Thoughts:

-- This wasn't a very successful line last year, and now it has to replace Gabe Jackson. (Rock M Nation)

-- Four seniors. State may quietly have a very nice offense. (And The Valley Shook)

-- If Justin Malone's foot is healthy, he will work with Blaine Clausell and Dillon Day to form a tough front. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- If Dak Prescott puts it all together this year, he could make this line look a lot better than it is. (Team Speed Kills)

-- Mississippi State returns everyone except the talented Mr. Jackson on a front that was middle of the pack statistically speaking last year.  While everyone is focused on Dak and what he will do this year, I look for this line to improve off of last year

10. Georgia (9.5 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: C David Andrews
Key Losses:
OL Chris Burnette, LT Kenarious Gates
Our Thoughts:

-- Losing three three-year starters from a unit that wasn't great probably isn't a good way to move up this list. (Rock M Nation)

-- They lose three starters from a line that was fairly average. However, they might see some bounce back in their numbers due to a healthy backfield, which was beyond their control. (And The Valley Shook)

-- Georgia will have to replace three starters from last year's team, but if Kolton Houston can step up at one of the tackle spots the Bulldogs will be well-enough off. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- A good deal of experience is gone from the offensive line. But that's okay, because they have very little experience at the quarterback position! (Team Speed Kills)

11. Florida (10.5 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: OT DJ Humphries, OL Max Garcia
Key Losses: C Jonotthan Harrison, OG Jon Halapio

Our Thoughts:

-- Still the worst until proven otherwise. (Rock M Nation)

-- I worry a little bit about the shift from a power scheme to more of a spread one, but there's talent and experience there. (And The Valley Shook)

-- If D.J. Humphries and Chaz Green can be back at full strength, then the Gators should see improvement in 2014. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- [Insert Gators blocking each other joke here] (Team Speed Kills)

12. Vanderbilt (11.25 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: C Joe Townsend
Key Losses: OT Wesley Johnson

Our Thoughts:

-- Losing Herb Hand is going to hurt them. (Good Bull Hunting)

-- Johnson's gone, but almost everybody else is back for the new coaching staff. (Rock M Nation)

-- A terrible unit that nosed out Florida at the finish for worst rushing average returns four starters. Expect more of the same. (And The Valley Shook)

-- They return four starters to a line that had one of the worst rushing averages and sack rates in the SEC. Hooray? (Team Speed Kills)

13. Tennessee (12.5 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors:
Key Losses: OT Ja'Wuan James, OT Tiny Richardson, OG James Stone, OG Zach Fulton
Our Thoughts:

-- Just losing too much for me to think they'll be as good upfront as they were last season. (Dawg Sports)

-- Almost 180 career starts walked out the door last year. This is an almost complete rebuild. (Rock M Nation)

-- The Vols have quietly had one of the best lines in the SEC for two seasons, but now they return zero starters and must virtually start from scratch. (And The Valley Shook)

-- If you have to replace all your starters, expect to have a rough time. This is especially true when you're in the SEC. They're going to have to hope they learn quickly before getting into the meat of the schedule. (College & Magnolia)

-- The Vols return no starters on the offensive line. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- No starters return. Hope the quarterbacks like running. (Team Speed Kills)

14. Kentucky (13.125 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: OG Zach West, OL Darrian Miller
Key Losses:

Our Thoughts:

-- Is returning four starters from a unit that gave up 3 sacks per game last year a good thing? (Dawg Sports)

--UK's line wasn't completely awful last year, and it returns most of its two-deep. (Rock M Nation)

-- A terrible unit that allowed an astounding 37 sacks season returns four starters. Expect more of the same. (And The Valley Shook)

-- Kentucky returns a lot of starters, but they were horrible last year. We'll see if they improve. Sometimes a line that looks awful one year can look awesome the next with another spring and fall camp behind them. (College & Magnolia)

--Kentucky gave up the most sacks in the SEC last year. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- The good news is that they return four starters. Bad news: From an offensive line that allowed 37 sacks last year. (Team Speed Kills)

La'el Collins

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports