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Analyzing likely replacements for 2015 SEC draft picks

The SEC had 54 players selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, the most of any college conference. The SEC West division produced 29 of those drafted players, second most of any division in the nation. The ACC Atlantic produced the most draftees, with 30.

Here's a look at the picks out of the SEC and the college player in line to replace each pick this fall.

Note:Dorial Green-Beckham is counted as a pick out of the SEC (Missouri) but he is not included on our list since he sat out last season due to transfer rules.



WR Amari Cooper

Round 1 (4), Oakland Raiders
Possibilities: Sophomore ArDarius Stewart flashed impressively in a reserve role last season and, amid a group of very inexperienced receivers, he is as good a bet as any to replace Cooper as the Tide's top playmaker at receiver. Of course, a drop-off in production is a given, but Stewart has both the speed to get open deep and the quickness to make people miss.

DB Landon Collins

Round 2 (33), New York Giants
Possibilities: Alabama switched Eddie Jackson from cornerback to safety to help depth concerns at the position, and freshman Hootie Jones is expected to see action in Collins' former role, as well. Alabama is turning over the other safety position as well, so the secondary competition in fall camp should be spirited.

RB T.J. Yeldon

Round 2 (36), Jacksonville Jaguars
Possibilities: The easy answer is Derrick Henry, the rising junior who combines massive size (245 pounds) with big-play speed. But while Henry should take over as the primary back on the team, it's Kenyan Drake who will provide Alabama with a more Yeldon-like skill set with his versatility and third-down prowess.

FB Jalston Fowler

Round 4 (108), Tennessee Titans
Possibilities: There really is no replacement, given the uniqueness of Fowler's role with the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban's Alabama offenses have fluctuated between the use of a fullback or an extra tight end from year to year, depending on fit. Look for the fullback role to disappear in 2015 in favor of a bigger blocking presence at tight end.

OL Arie Kouandjio

Round 4 (112), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Freshman Ross Pierschbacher redshirted last season, but emerged in spring practice from a spirited competition at both guard positions. Barring an injury or an unforeseen development in fall camp, expect Pierschbacher to start this fall.

OL Austin Shepherd

Round 7 (228), Minnesota Vikings
Possibilities: Dominick Jackson (6-6, 315) is the physical presence Alabama prefers at right tackle, capable of caving the edge for the running game. He didn't see much action last year -- in fact, his most important role was as a goal-line fullback -- but the former junior-college transfer is primed to emerge as a starter this fall.

LB Xzavier Dickson

Round 7 (253), New England Patriots
Possibilities: Look for Ryan Anderson to take over for Dickson in Alabama's Jack linebacker role, which amounts to a designated pass rusher who tends to be a big-play specialist. Anderson is more athletic than was Dickson, but has faced disciplinary issues in the program.


DE Trey Flowers

Round 4 (101), New England Patriots
Possibilities: Tevin Beanum will more than likely take Flowers' role. He's almost exactly the same size as Flowers at 270 pounds, but matching Flowers' production will be a much tougher task. Beanum made just 11 tackles last season, and his next sack will be his first.

LB Martrell Spaight

Round 5 (141), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Brooks Ellis emerged from spring drills as a starter at Spaight's old linebacker spot on the weak side. Ellis had been at middle linebacker, but youngster Khalia Hackett made the move from the strong side to the middle to cover Ellis' spot.

CB Tevin Mitchel

Round 6 (182), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Junior D.J. Dean gives Arkansas a physical, 200-pound presence on the corner to replace Mitchel. Despite limited action last year, Dean tied for the team lead in interceptions with two, but Henre' Toliver could give Dean a run for the starting role in fall camp.

DL Darius Philon

Round 6 (192), San Diego Chargers
Possibilities: Taiwan Johnson will play Philon's three-technique position at defensive tackle. The junior is small for the role (6-2, 273), but Philon excelled despite a lack of size, as well. Johnson made 8.5 tackles for loss last year with 4.5 sacks, so he's no stranger to the offensive backfield and should provide some of the same penetration that Philon did.

TE A.J. Derby

Round 6 (202), New England Patriots
Possibilities: Hunter Henry can't replace Derby, since both saw extensive action last year, but he has a good chance to replace his production. The two combined for 59 catches last year -- a huge total for a college tight end tandem -- and Henry figures to be an even bigger key in the Arkansas passing game this fall.


WR Sammie Coates

Round 3 (87), Pittsburgh Steelers
Possibilities: D'haquille Williams returns as arguably the best wide receiver in the SEC this fall, and it can be argued that Coates was in a secondary role to Williams last year. The next man up could be Melvin Ray, the former pro baseball player and Alabama signee who is looking for career redemption in his final college season, or a more experienced option in Ricardo Lewis.

DL Angelo Blackson

Round 4 (100), Tennessee Titans
Possibilities: Dontavius Russell had a strong spring and is expected to step in for Blackson at a tackle position. With budding star Montravius Adams beside him, Russell should get less double-teaming and thus more of an opportunity to make plays in his first year as a starter.

DL Gabe Wright

Round 4 (113), Detroit Lions
Possibilities: Look for incoming junior-college transfer Maurice Swain to help fill the void left by Wright. Swain (6-5, 195 pounds) will rotate heavily on the interior of the Auburn defensive line and bring some of the same explosiveness off the line of scrimmage that the Lions saw in Wright.

TE C.J. Uzomah

Round 5 (157), Carolina Panthers
Possibilities: Freshman Kamryn Pettway emerged from spring drills as the new H-back, and as a former running back, he brings plenty of athleticism to the position. He should be a much-needed receiving weapon for new quarterback Jeremy Johnson and, at 245 pounds, a capable blocker, as well.

RB Cameron Artis-Payne

Round 5 (174), Cincinnati Bengals
Possibilities: Sophomore Roc Thomas showed some impressive flashes as a backup last year and averaged five yards per carry. Jovon Robinson is a junior-college transfer who could also factor heavily in the Auburn backfield. Robinson is the bigger of the two at 230 pounds and could be called on more in short-yardage situations.


DB Jalen Collins

Round 2 (42), Atlanta Falcons
Possibilities: Look for Collins' role to be filled by Ed Paris, who saw limited action last year. Paris (6-1, 205) brings some of the same size to the position that Collins did, but the competition for Collins' role figures to linger into fall camp. Also in the mix: blue-chip freshman Kevin Toliver.

DE Danielle Hunter

Round 3 (88), Minnesota Vikings
Possibilities: The role of the long, lanky pass rusher in the LSU defense goes from Hunter to Tashawn Bower (6-5, 237), who saw action as a backup last season. Although LSU returns experience at the defensive tackle positions, Bower will be called on to energize the Tigers' pass rush.

LB Kwon Alexander

Round 4 (124), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Possibilities: More than likely, Deion Jones will fill in for Alexander as a weakside linebacker who can pursue and make plays from the back side. Like Alexander, Jones will be a speedy presence for new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and has the experience of 13 gamed played and 27 tackles from last season.

RB Kenny Hilliard

Round 7 (235), Houston Texans
Possibilities: Hilliard was a backup throughout his LSU career, so we won't suggest Tigers starter Leonard Fournette is his replacement. Sophomore Darrel Williams projects as Fournette's backup and has a powerful style similar to Hilliard's.

Mississippi State

DE Preston Smith

Round 2 (38), Washington Redskins
Possibilities:A.J. Jefferson should be in the Bulldogs' starting lineup at an end spot after making 27 tackles last season and showing good ability as a disruptive presence on the defensive line. Smith leaves a big void, but not one that Jefferson can't capably handle.

LB Benardrick McKinney

Round 2 (43), Houston Texans
Possibilities: Richie Brown steps into McKinney's role with plenty of experience after making 50 tackles last season. Whether Brown can be the leader McKinney was on the field is another question, but MSU remains in good shape at the position from a talent standpoint.

Matthew Wells

Round 6 (178), New England Patriots
Possibilities: More than likely, Wells' role will be filled by Zach Johnson, a senior who, like Brown, has plenty of experience. Johnson made 34 stops last year but is undersized at 210 pounds.

TE Malcolm Johnson

Round 6 (195), Cleveland Browns
Possibilities: Gus Walley has the best chance to replace Johnson's production from last year (28 catches, 380 yards), and veteran quarterback Dak Prescott will need every weapon he can get. Walley (6-4, 235) is well-suited to the receiving part of the tight end job, as Johnson was.

RB Josh Robinson

Round 6 (205), Indianapolis Colts
Possibilities: Ashton Shumpert and Dontavian Lee figure to take a spirited battle into fall camp. Both have the power to handle the rushing load between the tackles, although it's Brandon Holloway (160 pounds) who is the more exciting option on the perimeter. Despite the loss of Robinson, this should be a position of solid depth for MSU.

Ole Miss

Senquez Golson

Round 2 (56), Pittsburgh Steelers
Possibilities: Tee Shepard, a junior-college transfer who sat out last season with an injury, should take over Golson's role in the Ole Miss defense. If Shepard stays healthy and performs up to expectations, the Rebels' secondary will again be one of the best in the nation.

Texas A&M

OL Cedric Ogbuehi

Round 1 (21), Cincinnati Bengals
Possibilities: Competition is high to be the next in line at left tackle for Texas A&M, and why wouldn't it be? The last three (Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews, Cedric Ogbuehi) have all been picked in the first round of the NFL draft. Avery Gennesy emerged as the front-runner in the spring, but Germain Ifedi will take the battle into fall camp.

OL Jarvis Harrison

Round 5 (152), New York Jets
Possibilities: This battle will likely carry over into preseason practice, but don't be surprised if Jermaine Eluemunor emerges as its winner. Several Aggies offensive linemen can play both guard and tackle, which could add to the competition.

SEC East


LB Dante Fowler

Round 1 (3), Jacksonville Jaguars
Possibilities: Jonathan Bullard is expected to be the Gators' top pass rusher. He recorded just 2.5 sacks last season, but his 8.5 tackles for loss and 12 quarterback hurries point to the potential he has in the sack category. A senior this fall, the 6-foot-3, 277-pound defensive end will have every opportunity to impress NFL scouts.

OL D.J. Humphries

Round 1 (24), Arizona Cardinals
Possibilities: David Sharpe was the best tackle UF had coming out of spring drills. Sharpe is short on experience, although he did appear in six games as a true freshman last season. On a thin offensive line, he's a definite starter this fall.

OL Chaz Green

Round 3 (91), Dallas Cowboys
Possibilities: The Florida offensive line is a potential disaster, and UF's best option to replace a third-round pick is probably an incoming freshman. Parade All-American Martez Ivey (6-6, 290) has a great chance to step right in on a line that has been ravaged by graduation, injuries and early draft entries.

RB Matt Jones

Round 3 (95), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Kelvin Taylor, the son of former Jacksonville Jaguars star Fred Taylor, could finally get his chance to be the lead horse in the UF backfield. He averaged as many yards per carry as Jones last season (4.9), but averaged just 10 carries per game.

OL Max Garcia

Round 4 (133), Denver Broncos
Possibilities: Cameron Dillard is the most likely candidate to replace Garcia at the center position for the Gators. The offensive line as a whole is the biggest concern on the entire team for new coach Jim McElwain, but in Dillard, he should have a reliable man to snap the ball and make line calls.

LB Neiron Ball

Round 5 (161), Oakland Raiders
Possibilities: With a new coaching staff in place, roles figure to change some from last season to this season. But with Ball exiting, one up-and-comer who should see a significant jump in playing time is Daniel McMillan, who took advantage of some injuries in the spring to get extra practice reps.

WR Andre Debose

Round 7 (221), Oakland Raiders
Possibilities: Considering Debose caught only one pass last season, replacing him at receiver is a non-issue. Replacing him as a return specialist, however, won't be as easy. Senior Roger Dixon could get the call as the punt returner under a new coaching staff; the kickoff return picture isn't quite as clear.

OL Trenton Brown

Round 7 (244), San Francisco 49ers
Possibilities: Antonio Riles and Travaris Dorsey are among the guard options UF will have this fall, but neither played especially well in the spring. The battle to replace Brown should carry well into fall camp.


RB Todd Gurley

Round 1 (10), St. Louis Rams
Possibilities: This one is easy. Nick Chubb established himself as one of the top freshmen in the SEC last season while Gurley was serving out his four-game suspension, and he got even more action after Gurley tore his ACL. Chubb is a star in the making and as good a bet as any back in the SEC for 1,000 yards this fall.

WR Chris Conley

Round 3 (76), Kansas City Chiefs
Possibilities: Malcolm Mitchell's career track at Georgia hasn't gone in the right direction since his freshman year, when he was a two-way gem in the Bulldogs' incoming signing class. After a knee injury cost him 2013, he had a pedestrian season as a receiver last year. His last chance to re-emerge has arrived.

LB Ramik Wilson

Round 4 (118), Kansas City Chiefs
Possibilities: Reggie Carter is primed to be Georgia's next Mike linebacker, and he could actually be an upgrade over Wilson, who was one of the SEC's leading tacklers the last two years. Carter had 28 stops in a backup role last year but could triple that total this fall.

CB Damian Swann

Round 5 (167), New Orleans Saints
Possibilities: Replacing a veteran like Swann is a tough task at cornerback, one that will likely fall on sophomore Malkom Parrish. He saw time as a reserve last year, but not enough to project whether he'll be up to the task of starting at a crucial position.

LB Amarlo Herrera

Round 6 (207), Indianapolis Colts
Possibilities: Herrera was backed up by Tim Kimbrough last year, who made 32 tackles and appeared in every game for the Bulldogs. With the decks now cleared for Kimbrough to start, he and Carter are expected to make a smooth transition at the inside linebacker spots.


LB Shane Ray

Round 1 (23), Denver Broncos
Possibilities: Marcus Loud is the heir apparent to Ray, although Loud saw only limited action last season and didn't flash nearly as much potential behind Ray in 2014 as Ray did behind Michael Sam in 2013. Much will be expected of Loud this fall. His focus and maturity are said to be much improved.

OL Mitch Morse

Round 2 (49), Kansas City Chiefs
Possibilities: Connor McGovern is an option at guard this fall, but he's probably Missouri's best option at left tackle, as well. He has experience in both areas, but the need figures to be greater on the edge for pass protection.

DE Markus Golden

Round 2 (58), Arizona Cardinals
Possibilities: Golden gives way to Charles Harris as the next in line at Missouri's traditionally strong defensive end position. He saw action in every game last year but made just 19 stops, so Tigers fans will be looking for a big jump in production.

WR Bud Sasser

Round 6 (201), St. Louis Rams
Possibilities: Nate Brown, J'Mon Moore and Wesley Leftwich are set to take over in Missouri's three-receiver set, but which among them can replace Sasser's production is anyone's guess. Quarterback Maty Mauk will need to build a lot of chemistry with at least one of them, but none have the experience to command a No. 1 receiver's share of targets.

RB Marcus Murphy

Round 7 (230), New Orleans Saints
Possibilities: Ish Witter is the most likely candidate to replace Murphy as the timeshare back with Russell Hansbrough. He had just 27 carries last season but has some of the same quickness and perimeter skills as Murphy.

Check out the top 10 all-time NFL players from South Carolina.

South Carolina

OL A.J. Cann

Round 3 (67), Jacksonville Jaguars
Possibilities: Cann's outstanding play at left guard won't be replicated by anyone, but Cody Waldrop probably has the best chance to start at the position. Waldrop has experience at both center and guard, but has been injury prone in his career. A healthy season would be a big plus for the South Carolina front.

RB Mike Davis

Round 4 (126), San Francisco 49ers
Possibilities: The Gamecocks got a solid year from Brandon Wilds last season in support of Davis. This year, Wilds should get the bulk of the workload and has both the size to bang for power yardage on early downs, and the receiving skills to stay in the game on third down.

OL Corey Robinson

Round 7 (240), Detroit Lions
Possibilities: Mason Zandi is expected to take over at left tackle for Robinson. At 6-foot-9, he'll certainly be the league's tallest tackle, but with only one career start, he'll be an early season question mark.

TE Busta Anderson

Round 7 (254), San Francisco 49ers
Possibilities: Jerell Adams caught 21 passes last season, so it's not as though he'll be a newcomer. But as an athletic, downfield threat at the tight end position, he has a good chance to make up much of Anderson's production. Unless South Carolina's quarterback situation goes sour, 30-plus catches is in reach for Adams.


DE Bud Dupree

Round 1 (22), Pittsburgh Steelers
Possibilities:Jason Hatcher will step into Dupree's role and has shown some promise as a playmaker, but he's not shown anywhere near the ability that it will take to fully replace the Steelers' first-round pick. Hatcher made 28 stops last season

DE Za'Darius Smith

Round 4 (122), Baltimore Ravens
Possibilities: Kentucky is switching to a 3-4 defense, so it's a little fuzzy as to who will be filling in at Smith's end spot. One thing is for sure -- it will have to be someone bigger than the 255-pound Smith. Farrington Huguenin and Jabari Johnson are a couple options.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread.*

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