You might not have expected a defensive lineman to crack this list, but T’Vondre Sweat is that valuable to Texas. The Longhorns haven’t been dominant since losing to Oklahoma, other than the BYU win. Steve Sarkisian’s team has had to hang on late in games and the defense has come through. Sweat is the biggest reason why.
The 6-foot-4 362-pound defensive lineman is a space-eater in the middle of Texas’s defense. He has the highest Pro Football Focus grade of any defensive lineman in the country and has led the Longhorns to the fifth-ranked rushing defense, only allowing 83 yards per game on the ground.
Sweat is so dominant in the middle that Texas does not need to devote resources to stopping the run at all, and losing a player like that would be devastating. He’s also an impressive pass-rusher with two sacks and 25 pressures which ranks 17th among defensive linemen. On top of his run-stuffing ability and pass-rushing prowess, Sweat has recorded four passes defended with knockdowns at the line of scrimmage.
Oh, I almost forgot, he blocks kicks too.