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Wisdom of the crowds: Grading the Missouri defense after five games

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Your defensive MVPs thus far: Shane Ray (8.69), Markus Golden (8.00), Michael Scherer (7.67), Kentrell Brothers (7.53), and Harold Brantley (7.08). Oh yeah, and Christian Brinser (7.91).

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

You were a little bit kinder to the defense ... but only a little bit.

Defensive End

Shane Ray: 8.69
Markus Golden: 8.00
Charles Harris: 5.51
Marcus Loud: 5.32

2 headed monster.

Best position group

Golden is the difference maker here. We saw it against IU. Best player on our defense, hands down. Ray is getting lots of credit, but like last year, I think it is because of who is on the other side. But good for him. Freshman doing fine, but would love to see them develop as year goes on.

Have to be among the best DE units in the nation if not the best. Golden and Ray are studs and the backups have shown promise.

I know every "bandwagon"-eer chides at the truth, but whether it's schematic or intentional, both Golden and Ray occassionally lose gap discipline. Roll the tapes, and you'll see both of them bull rushing past the QB or crashing across the line leaving the edges exposed. I am guessing this is attributable to Steckel more often than not (i.e. entire D-line slanting left three plays in a row, creating leverage opportunities for USC's O-line, allowing large cutback gaps-result USC sustaining a running game for an entire series, ending in their final touchdown). When not being put at a disadvantage by play calling, these two control and create havoc. The youngsters are looking very promising.

I mean what can you say about GoldenRay, they're doing it all. I'll miss them next year. Charles Harris, looking forward to your growth, keep getting better.

Markus Golden = 9. Shane Ray = >9. Charles Harris and Marcus Loud are about 6, but more because I think there's a lot of room for improvement

Meh.

Ray is a 9 easily, and Golden might be if he handn't gotten hurt. -Mac6

Ray is playing at All American level

Shane Ray might be the best DE yet during the Pinkel era...

Strongest position group IMO.

The goldendeathray is something that will not be stopped but golden needs to stay healthy

They pass

This survey is faulty. I can't choose 11 for Shane Ray.

We do better when they make tackles.

We have two of the best pass rushing DE's in the entire country and probably the best combination. Shane Ray has surprisingly jumped ahead of Markus Golden. But both of them are relentless and will continue to get into the backfield unless teams start scheming to stop both of them (which I don't think will happen). I believe that we have one of the best D lines in the entire country.

I think the "meh" was sarcastic, but hey, you never know...

Defensive Tackle

Harold Brantley: 7.08
Josh Augusta: 6.84
Matt Hoch: 6.71
Lucas Vincent: 6.68
Rickey Hatley: 5.40

Not as much Vincent love as I'd have thought. He's been pretty good.

Another strong group.

Augusta has been impressive future is bright at D tackle

Brantley has been awesome. All the others have had their moments, but Brantley has really impressed me.

Brantley is looking great, but I have not noticed the rest for exceptional plays. -Mac6

Let them play striaght-up more often and we wouldn't get gashed for such large running plays. Do it against Gurley and Simon/Webb may both need to be carted off.

Love the push Lucas Vincent has been getting lately and a healthy Hoch can only help things going forward. Brantley's been coming on of late as well, all good news since we'll need the line to be good to keep things moving forward.

Not fat guy interceptions this week. Fail.

Overall, the unit has been solid. Hopefully moving forward, the young guys will continue to improve and be more consistent and Hoch can get to 100% physically.

Strong play throughout, led by Brantley. Vincent and Augusta need to be more consistent but I understand why that's tough. Matt Hoch is good when healthy. Rickey Hatley is coming along about like Harris and Loud.

The entire unit has made an impact in some way. If the ball isn't more than ten yards down the field you see number 90 on the play.

There is sooo much talent at the DT position, and there is no way that any one team can fully block every one of these guys and they all bring something different to the table.

Linebacker

Michael Scherer: 7.67
Kentrell Brothers: 7.53
Darvin Ruise: 5.52
Eric Beisel: 5.48
Clarence Green: 5.37
Donavin Newsom: 5.35

Wow, really not a lot of Newsom love...

Have not seen enough of all in this group but the starters are doing a good job.

I thought losing Andrew Wilson would hurt more.

Improving group, seems to get better every week. -Mac6

Kentrell is coming on and I love to see it. So far the LBers are looking better and better, still need to do a better job tackling in space, but they showed out really well against SCar.

Michael has been very solid ,and I am excited for his future. Brothers please please please please please play like you did in the South Carolina game every week. The other linebacker position has been fluid. I know Donavin has struggled ,but Green looked serviceable against the Gamecocks.

Needs to improve going forward. Very inconsistent unit.

Scherer and Brothers are 8s due to good play but room for improvement. Green and Newsom are hurt by not seeing the field. Darvin Ruise is slow and I think Eric Biesel deserves his minutes.

Scherer will be really good. Just needs playing time to figure it all out.  Brothers doing well. Ruise looks overweight, but haven't really seen his performance dip. Beisel needs to be on the field more, dude is a wrecking ball

Scherer will be the next Andrew Wilson

The most athletic bunch of linebackers that I have ever seen at Mizzou. They fly around and stuff the run game and defend the pass sooo well. And they are fairly young so we will be set at the position for a while. Michael Scherer is an absolute beast.

They're coming around.

Very promising group!

Cornerback

Aarion Penton: 6.37
Kenya Dennis: 5.91
John Gibson: 5.46
David Johnson: 4.97

Aarion Penton has so much room for improvement but that's okay right now. Kenya Dennis could probably be a starter but John Gibson is absolutely the best corner.

Aarion Penton is a star in the making. Supporting cast needs improvement.

Better than expected and will continue to improve.

But compared to the LBs, the CBs seem a bit stagnant about improving. -Mac6

Dennis has be a excellent addition, bringing experience. Sophomores being sophomores, but like what I'm seeing.

Outside of the flag, I loved Penton's intensity. Also, he seemed to be a more than willing tackler in run defense. EJ was a fundamentally sound tackler ,and it seems he has passed it down to Penton. Dennis was good in his replacement for Gibson who has been struggling.

Penton has been the best of this unit. A 2nd CB has to emerge for Mizzou to make a run at the East Championship.

Tackling continues to be an issue, but they seem to be getting to the ball better of late on deeper routes. The intermediate stuff seems to be giving them trouble.

This is been a really iffy spot

Very young but very athletic and talented. Aarion has the chance to be a very very good cornerback but still has some coverage issues to work out but I love his swagger. Kenya and John seem to be on the same level which is above serviceable. They will continue to get better and we will be a very difficult team to pass against.

Who knows how good this group could be with the soft zone Steckel runs. Ever notice now that we are playing more games that matter (more exposure/SEC), how often you'll here a commentator say, "I just don't understand why they are giving them so much cushion".

Safety

Braylon Webb: 6.79
Duron Singleton: 6.43
Ian Simon: 5.79
Cotland Browning: 4.92

Awesome safety play in keeping a lot of things in front of them. Duron is an extra linebacker on the field and causes all kinds of havoc.

Braylon Webb will play in the NFL.

Duron Singleton hasn't been the playmaker I expected, Braylon Webb is as good as advertised but Ian Simon is reaching Matt White levels (improve your tackling)

Ian Simon is a beast because he has a cool name and comes from a great home town.

Need Simon to step it up. -Mac6

Need to tackle better, wrap up and squeeze fellas.

Singleton gets extra points for his touchdown

Sorry, guys, pre-season hype, and repetitive narrative don't cover for Braylon Webb's poor tackling/coverage angles. Go back and watch the USC game and see how often he's out of position.

Tackling outside of the South Carolina game has been an issue. That being said they performed well against an underrated Gamecock passing game.

The less you hear about these guys, the better. So on that note, keep it up.

Webb has been good though not as good as last year. I think Singleton has been solid.

Special Teams

Christian Brinser (P): 7.91
Andrew Baggett (K): 6.63

Above average.

Andrew has improved greatly but still seems shaky at times and Christian does a very good job in helping us keep good field position.

Baggett has been solid. Brinser has been outstanding and should get some All-SEC looks.

Baggett has improved his kicking but really needs to show me something. Christian Brinser is a good punter.

Baggett has lost his head. Like the guy, but kickers have to have their mind right, and he doesn't. Less than 100 total return yards on punts through 5 games. Boom Christian Brinser.

Baggs is playing as well as can be expected and Brinser is a fantastic punter.

Brinser has really improved has a couple of bombs against IU and USC

Punting has been outstanding. Baggett is doing well.

Solid so far, Brinser almost a 9 as well. -Mac6

Was really happy for Baggett to get the go-ahead point against South Carolina. I know it wasn't a game winning field goal ,but even so to me it feels like vindication for him. (not that he needs it) Brinser has been very reliable.

Worthy of the Steck slap kiss.