Top 10 NFL players under the age of 25

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 6 years ago '05        #1
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Stupendamatic 117 heat pts117
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Top 10 NFL players under the age of 25
 

 
One of my favorite offseason activities is to study the depth charts of all 32 teams. During my research this past week, one thing jumped out at me: The NFL is loaded with young talent.

To illustrate this point, I've compiled a list of the top 10 players under the age of 25. Since we haven't seen them on the field yet, I've excluded all of the incoming rookies from the list. Here we go:


LB NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers (Age: 23)

Playing linebacker for the 49ers and finding a way to escape the shadow of Patrick Willis is not an easy task. Bowman was able to do just that with a monstrous sophomore season in San Francisco. He led the team with 143 tackles and also chipped in with two sacks. He is a prototype linebacker. He can run sideline to sideline, he's an explosive tackler, he can cover and he can blitz. He checks every box on a coach's LB wish list.

WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (Age: 23)

The NFL is loaded with young studs at wide receiver. There were several worthy candidates for this list but Green is the best of the bunch. He has ideal size, short-area quickness, deep speed and ball skills. He also has the toughness to work in the middle of the field. He finished his rookie campaign with 65 catches for 1,057 yards and seven TDs. I'd look for all of those numbers to rise significantly in his second season.

TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (Age: 23)

The word "Beast" is grossly overused in today's sports vernacular. However, in Gronk's case, there is no better term to describe him. In just his second season, he established himself as the best tight end in the NFL. He hauled in 90 balls for 1,327 yards and 17 TDs (a record for tight ends). He had multiple TDs in seven different regular season games. He has ideal size, speed and hands. His ability to use his frame to wall-off defenders on third down is a huge luxury for Tom Brady. I'd also rank him as the second best red-zone target in the NFL behind only Detroit's Calvin Johnson.

RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (Age: 23)

McCoy's first two seasons in Philadelphia were very solid. He took his game to an entirely new level in his third year. He ran for 1,309 yards and led the league in both rushing TDs (17) and rushes over 20 yards (14). He also hauled in 48 balls for 315 yards and three TDs. He is the NFL's most elusive open-field runner. He has rare stop-and-start quickness and he doesn't get enough credit for his ability to power through tackles. He also has worked to become one of the better pass-protecting running backs in the league.

LB Von Miller, Denver Broncos (Age: 23)

Miller didn't waste any time making his presence felt on the Broncos defense. He posted 10.5 sacks in their first 11 games before suffering a broken right thumb. He finished his rookie season with 11.5 sacks and was honored as the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He is a very versatile defender. He excels as a pass rusher because of his suddenness off the ball and his ability to bend around the edge. He is also athletic enough to drop in zones or run with tight ends down the seam.

QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (Age: 23)

Do you remember when everyone was concerned about Cam Newton's play calls being too simple at Auburn? I'm pretty sure that didn't end up being much of a problem. All he did in his rookie season was throw for more than 4,000 yards and combine for 35 TDs. He proved that he was capable of staying in the pocket and making plays with his arm. He throws a beautiful deep ball and helped revitalize the career of Steve Smith. He's a very dangerous runner when he decides to leave the pocket, and he's built to take the extra pounding that results from it. He is capable of posting video game-like numbers. I wouldn't be shocked if he put together 30 passing TDs and 20 rushing TDs in the same season. How crazy would that be?

DE Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (Age: 23)

In just his second season, JPP placed himself in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion. He had a dominating season that resulted in 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. He did all of this damage despite only starting 12 of the 16 regular-season games. He has ideal size, length, explosiveness and awareness. His motor is always running and he proved on several occasions that he is capable of dominating a football game. He should lead the league in sacks multiple times the next 7-8 seasons.

C Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers (Age: 22)

Pouncey has put together two dominant seasons for the Steelers and established himself as the top center in the NFL. The Jets' Nick Mangold and the Panthers' Ryan Kalil are both outstanding but neither possesses Pouncey's combination of size and athletic ability. He has the strength to anchor in pass protection and the power to create movement at the point of attack in the run game. He is outstanding at the second level. He can adjust and pick off linebackers with very little effort. He should be the top player at his position for a very long time.

DE Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers (Age: 22)

Smith is the third pass rusher to make this list. He recorded 14 sacks during his rookie year despite not starting a single game. He has an outstanding feel for rushing the passer. He is sudden off the snap and he has a wide variety of hand moves to defeat offensive tackles. He needs to improve his play against the run, but he's already established himself as one of the league's elite pass-rushers.

QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Age: 24)

Surprised? It's hard to believe that Stafford is still only 24 years old. After two injury-plagued years, he was able to stay healthy and post some incredible numbers in 2011. He passed for more than 5,000 yards and 41 TDs while leading the Lions back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. He has a tremendous skillset for the position. He has good size, arm-strength, touch and poise. He should be one of the league's elite signal callers for the next decade.

Just missed the cut: Giants WR Hakeem Nicks (24), Bengals DT Geno Atkins (24), Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (23), Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson (21), Falcons WR Julio Jones (23), Bengals QB Andy Dalton (24), Redskins DE Ryan Kerrigan (23), Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall (24), Browns CB Joe Haden (23), Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (23).


[pic - click to view]

 Young guns: Top 10 NFL players under the age of 25 - NFL.com
JPP best DE in the league at age 23 image

134 comments for "Top 10 NFL players under the age of 25"

 6 years ago '10        #2
Matrix 52 heat pts52
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Matty Staff number 1
 05-16-2012, 04:31 PM         #3
@RG3 
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Rg3. ...
 6 years ago '05        #4
kingpin222 2 heat pts
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I never realized Victor Cruz was older than Hakeem Nicks
 6 years ago '06        #5
Kjizzle03 37 heat pts37
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Bowman and Aldon so young...gonna get so much better




  426 - 199 STRK: 1 w in a row WIN PCT: 68% 11 (0) 
  Career: | Aug 17: 408-255, Rank #9 | Aug 16: 530-318, Rank #23 | Aug 15: 723-350, Rank #21 | Aug 14: 830-506, Rank #15 | Aug 13: 509-349, Rank #8 | Aug 12: 209-112, Rank #25 | Aug 11: 12-7, Rank #173 | Aug 10: 857-514, Rank #19 | Aug 09: 168-132, Rank #58 | Aug 08: 988-553, Rank #6 *
 6 years ago '06        #6
Kjizzle03 37 heat pts37
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 Dro889 said:
Rg3. ...
Hasn't played a down




  426 - 199 STRK: 1 w in a row WIN PCT: 68% 11 (0) 
  Career: | Aug 17: 408-255, Rank #9 | Aug 16: 530-318, Rank #23 | Aug 15: 723-350, Rank #21 | Aug 14: 830-506, Rank #15 | Aug 13: 509-349, Rank #8 | Aug 12: 209-112, Rank #25 | Aug 11: 12-7, Rank #173 | Aug 10: 857-514, Rank #19 | Aug 09: 168-132, Rank #58 | Aug 08: 988-553, Rank #6 *
 6 years ago '05        #7
SacTown|B 17 heat pts17
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53
 6 years ago '07        #8
Pistol Peter 33 heat pts33
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 kingpin222 said:
I never realized Victor Cruz was older than Hakeem Nicks
he been around for a few years...i even remember him rocking the number 1 jersey in preseason games
 6 years ago '06        #9
ThaShark316 86 heat pts86
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List is invalid without JJ Watt.
 6 years ago '05        #10
dahabi 90 heat pts90
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 Stupendamatic said:
JPP best DE in the league at age 23
He's a freakin monster and will eventually be the best end in the league but right now...no...he's not
 6 years ago '07        #11
Mr.NYCinNC 33 heat pts33
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Damn stafford only 24!

Lions straight for a good 10 years or more if he stay healthy
 6 years ago '05        #12
philly5 19 heat pts19
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 Matrix said:
Matty Staff number 1

I don't think it's in order.
 6 years ago '04        #13
HotBYoungTurk 13 heat pts13
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Pouncey? really? GTFOH!!!
 6 years ago '05        #14
Hold That 103 heat pts103
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Cam thats my QB
 6 years ago '06        #15
Special Edd 167 heat pts167
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aye whats wrong with the pouncey twins they cool. besides homie injuries..


i love yo gators ... take care of haden for me young turk :'(
 6 years ago '05        #16
R4P 11 heat pts11
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 Pistol Peter said:
he been around for a few years...i even remember him rocking the number 1 jersey in preseason games
yea man we all do, it was just a couple seasons ago he blew up in the preseason against the jets
 6 years ago '07        #17
Pistol Peter 33 heat pts33
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 R4P said:
yea man we all do, it was just a couple seasons ago he blew up in the preseason against the jets
i said it that way because most people don't know every teams preseason heroes who make the team on a long shot...a lot of people think cruz is a rookie and somebody that just came out of nowhere...but he was grinding quietly to get to where he is
 6 years ago '11        #18
wjcorner 3 heat pts
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Sean Weatherspoon should've been on this list
 05-16-2012, 05:53 PM         #19
bigree61 
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haden is better than half that list
 05-16-2012, 05:55 PM         #20
@RG3 
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 wjcorner said:
Sean Weatherspoon should've been on this list
stop it.
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