Top 25 NFL players under 25: Patrick Mahomes takes first place, Saints lead all teams with three stars


It is never easy to pass from the heroes we grew up watching, those who could have made us fall in love with football or nourish our passion for the sport, but with the arrival of Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, the future of football is here. Not so long ago, the idea that Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger would reach the final stages of their illustrious career would have been terrifying, but with the arrival of the aforementioned quarters, declaring at seeing the aging Hall of Fame is no longer so scary. The future of football is already here, and it is just as bright as what preceded it.

Every year, I am asked to list the top 25 NFL players under the age of 25. Each year, the exercise recalls that the NFL is saturated with young talent. It’s not just the aforementioned trio of quarters, two of which have won MVP trophies in the past two seasons, one of which has already won the first Lombardi trophy in their career. These are also the 22 other players who made their way on the list.

Unfortunately, the exercise is not just a reminder of how the NFL is stacked with young talent. It is also a taxation process that requires leaving around twenty players under the age of 25 who deserve to be on the list, but who simply could not return. This year’s list is no different. There are over 25 great players under the age of 25. From JuJu Smith-Schuster (a bad 2019 season that wasn’t entirely his fault) to Mark Andrews (just not enough volume in the Ravens’ offense) to Bradley Chubb (a ripped ACL) to Josh Allen (the rusher board which had just 10.5 bags, not the quarterback), a ton of worthy players were snubbed. I’ll be the first to admit it. There are only 25 spots on this list and there are undoubtedly more than 25 great young players in the NFL today. Difficult decisions had to be made.

As for how the list was made, let’s review the rules. As I wrote a year ago …

The list is not a project. This is not a situation where every player under the age of 25 has been placed in a pool and then redefined in the league. If the list was a draft, there would be far fewer setbacks on the list because the setbacks are simply not valid enough to justify their selection in a draft with so many good players playing much larger positions. I’m not Dave Gettleman.

So what is the list based on?

  1. What they have done so far: How well has the player played at this point in his career? Recent success matters more than past success, but past success still matters. Availability is also important. This is why someone like Chubb, who tore his ACL in week 4, missed it. It was not his fault that he was injured, but I could not put him on the list after the end of his second season with just one bag in four games.
  2. Future projection: What is the cap for this player? It’s not just a list of past accomplishments. It’s also the future.
  3. Position value: It’s not a draft, but positional value is a factor – but not the only factor. You will find many ball carriers on this list because it is not their fault that they play the least valuable position on each side of the ball and because they should be rewarded for how good they are at play their position. But you won’t find them so high in the list, as they play the least valuable position on either side of the ball. It’s a balance.

What disqualifies a player from the list?

  1. Age: Be 25 years of age or older. I repeat: if a player is already 25 years old on Thursday, May 21, he is disqualified.
  2. Experience: Being a rookie, because we have no way of knowing how good or bad or poor they will be in the NFL. You won’t find Joe Burrow or Chase Young on this list. If they do well in the coming season, they will be on the list for next year. But first, we have to see it.

At the end of the list you will find a list of notable omissions – these are the players for whom I desperately wanted to find a place, but I just couldn’t. If you think that one of the notable omissions deserved to win over someone on the list, I don’t hold it against you. These were all difficult decisions.

Finally, some quick facts on the list:

  • Nineteen of the 25 players also got to qualify for the Pete Prisco Top 100 list.
  • Fourteen of the 25 players are attacking players.
  • Of the 14 offensive players, four are quarterbacks, six are semi-offensive, three are catcher and one is an offensive lineman. No tight end made the list, although Mark Andrews of the Ravens has come terribly close.
  • Of the 11 defensive players, three are advanced rushers, one is a defensive lineman, one is a linebacker, two are cornerbacks and four are safeties. Thus, each position on the defense is covered.
  • One team had three players selected: the Saints.
  • Four teams had two players selected: the Browns, the Colts, the Ravens and the Chargers.
  • The Colts were the only team to have two players in the top 10, with the Chargers barely missing.
  • The AFC overtakes the NFC, 14-11.
  • Even if there are only four quarters, the first three places all belong to quarters.
  • Even though there are six semi-offensives, only one finished in the top half of the list – mainly due to positional value.
  • There were 13 carryovers from last year’s list. Of the 12 players who failed to make the cut this year after placing in the top 25 a year ago, seven of them were disqualified because of their age. Of these seven 25-year-olds, two would not have appeared on the list even if they were not yet 25, in particular because of their performance in 2019. These two players? Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield. The five players who missed the list for performance reasons and / or injury? Bradley Chubb (Torn ACL), Leighton Vander Esch (combination of the two), Roquan Smith (declined slightly in 2019), JuJu Smith-Schuster (a bad 2019 season that was not entirely his fault) and Myles Jack (a poor 2019 season).

Without further ado, the list itself …

25. Saints S Marcus Williams (23)

Despite ten interceptions in his first three seasons (tied for fifth in safety), it still feels like Williams is underrated. Last season, he posted a career high in defensive passes with 13 (he had 10 in his two previous seasons combined) and finished The highest rated security in Pro Football Focus. Unfortunately for Williams, his involvement in the miracle of Minneapolis continues to make people forget how good he is since the Saints took him 42nd in the 2017 draft.

24. Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (24)

Finally, after a few seasons of injuries, everything came together for Cook in 2019, when he had 1,654 yards and 13 touchdowns in 14 games. 2019 was the first season in which we saw how good Cook can be if he can stay perfectly healthy. Throughout his career, he has averaged 5.4 yards per hit. For Cook, it’s about staying healthy. He has missed 19 games in three seasons.

23. Titans WR A.J. Brown (22)

First, it’s important to note that Brown must regress in 2020. This is not an indictment from Brown, but rather a testament to the remarkable remarkable Brown during his rookie season. He caught 52 passes for 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns, which means he averages 20.2 yards per catch. That number is slated to decline in 2020. But even if the regression monster comes for Brown, he should remain the center of the Titans’ passing game and one of the best young wideners in football. While her effectiveness numbers may decrease, don’t be surprised if her receptor skills improve. He only enters the second year.

22. Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (24)

In the past two seasons – Sutton’s entire career to this point – the Broncos have started the following quarters: Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen and Drew Lock. So what Sutton has already accomplished at this point in his career is even more impressive. Despite playing with the aforementioned quarters, which are not all very good (with the notable exception of Lock, who still has a chance of being good), Sutton averages 57 catches, 908 receiving yards and five touchdowns per season . This last season marked its breakthrough. Despite playing with three of these four quarters, Sutton posted career highs in catches (72), receiving yards (1,112) and touchdowns (six). As the Broncos complete their offensive around Sutton and Lock matures, Sutton should continue to climb in Denver.

21. Packers DL Kenny Clark (24)

Is Clark still underestimated? It certainly is. He is the type of indoor defensive lineman who is able to both plug in the race and generate pressure. In the past three years, he has averaged 5.5 sacks, 33 solo tackles, 7.3 hits for the quarter and 7.7 tackles for loss per season. Like all indoor defensive liners, Clark’s contributions are often overlooked as the edge runners around him accumulate more bags. But Clark is an elite player in his position group. He is tied with Chris Jones (too old for the list), who entered the NFL the same year, in career rough value. He deserves to be recognized for his dominance in the trenches.

20. Browns RB Nick Chubb (24)

Chubb is another example of how teams don’t really know how to assess players in the draft. In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Browns grabbed Chubb with the third pick in the second round. Which means Chubb was the fourth to return to the board. The three half strips taken in front of him? Saquon Barkley, Rashaad Penny and Sony Michel. Only Barkley is a better player than Chubb, but given where they were drafted (# 2 overall versus # 35), Chubb is the better value. In other words, the Giants would have been better off writing someone else (they had a ton of options) at # 2, then getting Chubb at # 34. In two seasons, Chubb has totaled 2,917 yards and 18 melee touchdowns. all on average 5.3 meters per contact. During this period, he ranked fifth a few meters from the fray among all the runners.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

It only took one season for Kyler Murray to break through this list.


19. QB Cardinals Kyler Murray (22)

All fresh Offensive rookie of the year which included 3,722 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, a passing rating of 87.4, 544 rushing yards and four touchdown passes, Murray appears to be one of the next great quarterbacks for the NFL. But he still has a long way to go until he reaches the peaks that three-quarters of the top of this list have already reached, which is confirmed by the advanced measures. By DYAR, he placed 21st – only one place ahead of Gardner Minshew. According to DVOA, which measures value per game, it also placed 21st. And by QBR, which takes into account its hasty contributions, it placed 15th. However, given the circumstances – he was a rookie leaving for the worst football team, behind a bad offensive line, with a rookie coach, and against the most difficult division in the league – he was brilliant. After the Cardinals designed the offseason business to acquire DeAndre Hopkins, Murray should only continue to climb. Murray ranks at this level because he is ready for an even better second-year season after an already impressive rookie season – remember, future projection counts too. In addition, he plays the quarterback, the most valuable position in the sport. It gave him a boost.

18. Saints RB Alvin Kamara (24)

If Kamara was not a ball carrier, he would rank higher on this list. Even still, Kamara is the perfect ball carrier for the modern NFL. On the one hand, he was drafted by the Saints in the third round, proving once again that teams can find great ball carriers at enormous value. Second, it can do everything a little. As a runner, he has an average of 802.7 yards and nine touchdowns per season, and 5.0 yards per rush. As a catcher, he averages 81 catches, 689.3 yards and 3.3 touchdowns per season, and 8.5 yards per catch. In New Orleans, where he caught passes from Drew Brees in the attack on Sean Payton, Kamara found a perfect home. In turn, the Saints have the perfect back for the modern NFL and Payton offense.

17. Giants RB Saquon Barkley (23)

Barkley has placed third a few yards from the fray since 2018. In that sense, he did almost everything he could to justify the Giants’ decision to push him out of No. 2 overall two years ago. He had 3,469 yards and 23 touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per touchdown. The problem is, despite Barkley losing his head in the past two seasons, the Giants are 9-23. Barkley is truly the perfect example of how ball carriers simply don’t matter like other position groups do. It’s not Barkley’s fault, the Giants have sucked the last two seasons. But there is nothing he can do to get them out of the gutter.

16. Saints CB Marshon Lattimore (24)

This marks the third consecutive year that Lattimore has appeared on this list. As he peaked on this list after his rookie season, for which he won Defensive Rookie of the Year, he’s still been remarkably consistent since the Saints drafted him 11th overall in 2017 with eight interceptions, 44 assists and 168 tackles combined. Earlier this offseason, the Saints chose his fifth year option, which should come as no surprise. To let him go as he enters the prime of life would be colossally stupid. The Saints are expected to sign it into a long-term agreement at some point next year. At best, he was a star (2017). At worst, he was always a good beginner (2018-19).

15. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (24)

Since entering the league in 2016, Zeke has led all runners back in melee yards with 7,024 yards. In second place? Todd Gurley with 6,200 yards. Given Gurley’s career path, it is unlikely that he will ever catch Elliott, who has just completed a season of 1,777 yards and 14 touchdowns. Like all running backs, the value of Elliott is limited. Players like Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper hold much more value for the Cowboys. But Elliott had done everything in his power to help justify the Cowboys’ decision to draft him at No. 4 in the 2016 draft against Jalen Ramsey and DeForest Buckner, who did not qualify for this list. (Note: They should always have written Ramsey or Buckner).

14. Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey (23)

Lamar Jackson’s MVP-level brilliance overshadowed the Ravens’ defense performance in 2019, when they finished the season as the fourth best defense in DVOA. Consider the Steelers ‘defense only finished one spot ahead of the Ravens, but because the Steelers’ defense constantly bailed out Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, they were cheered. For the most part, the Ravens’ defense has been underestimated because they have never been the most impressive aspect of their team thanks to Jackson and the rest of the offensive. But the Ravens’ defense was excellent in 2019 and for that, they owe a lot to Humphrey, a first-round choice of 2017 which flourished in year 3 with three interceptions (bringing his career total to seven), 14 defended passes , 65 combined tackles (a career high) and two defensive touchdowns. According to PFF, it produced an incomplete pass on 22.5% of its targets, who placed fourth among the cornerbacks.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers

Nick Bosa was a force on the 49ers defensive line during his rookie season.


13. 49ers BY Nick Bosa (22)

Before the 2019 NFL draft, some have argued that the Cardinals should simply give Josh Rosen another year as the starting quarterback and take Nick Bosa with the top pick in the standings. While the Cardinals’ decision to draft Murray was entirely justified given his presence on this list after only one season, Bosa’s dominant rookie season with the 49ers, which led him to No. 2, also demonstrates why so much Experts thought it was worthy of the best choice. Like his brother before him, Bosa immediately emerged as a leading rusher with nine sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 25 hits. In the 49ers’ Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, he has accumulated 12 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, who was tied for the most pressure in a single playoff game since 2006. In three playoff games, he recorded four sacks. By PFF, it was the third graduated grinder in 2019, dragging only T.J. Watt and Calais Campbell, who are not eligible for this list. Don’t be surprised when Bosa ranks in the top 10 in a year.

12. Jets S Jamal Adams (24)

If the Jets continue to take offers for Adams, they could get a heavy ransom for one of the best safeties in the game. It has been three seasons since Adams entered the NFL as sixth overall in a draft of 2017 which produced notable busts near the top, and in these three seasons, Adams has accumulated 273 combined tackles, 12 sacks, 23 quarter hits, 28 tackles loss and two steals – including one qu ‘he brought home. According to Pro Football Focus, there has only been two safety cases generating more than 20 pressures in a single season since 2006. Both belong to Adams. Since the start of his career in 2017, no security has recorded more bags, hits or haste.

11. S Derwin James Chargers (23)

It’s a testament to James’s rookie season that he’s still as high as in 2019 James was only available for five games due to a stress fracture in the foot. But about this rookie season in 2018: James immediately emerged as the best hybrid safety in the league, recording 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and 105 tackles combined – enough to make him the first All-Pro team. Obviously, placing him at this level after a rough season, we expect him to pick up where he left off in 2020.

10. Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick (23)

If you thought the Steelers gave up too much when they sent a first round pick in Miami in exchange for Fitzpatrick (Minkah, not Ryan) last season, Fitzpatrick proved you (and me) wrong in one season. The Steelers managed to win eight games without Ben Roethlisberger because of their defense, which placed third in DVOA and led the league with 38. And their defense was as big as it was largely thanks to Fitzpatrick, who helped five interceptions, one touchdown, one fumble, two fumble recoveries and 57 tackles combined in a 14 game season with the Steelers. Suddenly, it seems that the Steelers got an absolute flight by landing Fitzpatrick for a single first round pick. In other words, it is unlikely that they would have found a better player than Fitzpatrick in the first round of this year’s draft.

9. Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (24)

After two promising seasons to start his career, Godwin has emerged as one of the best receivers in the league in 2019, scoring 86 passes for 1,333 yards (15.5 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns, all career highs. With Mike Evans, Godwin is the best receiver duo in football. Now he has to work with Tom Brady. Even if Brady is a huge upgrade from Jameis Winston, don’t be surprised if Godwin’s numbers drop slightly in 2020. Brady is better, but he’s also more cautious than Winston.

8. RB Panthers Christian McCaffrey (23)

Believe me, it was not easy to put a pointer in the top 10 due to their lack of worth, but that’s how good McCaffrey has been since the Panthers made him a top pick round three years ago. In those three seasons, McCaffrey had 5,443 yards (the highest number in that period) and 39 touchdowns (the second highest number in that period) of scrimmage. He just had a crazy season of 2,392 yards and 19 touchdowns that earned him a long-term historic contract with the Panthers. But McCaffrey’s impressive 2019 season is also a prime example of how small ball carriers can impact a team. Despite his exploits, the Panthers have won five games. It was certainly not McCaffrey’s fault, but even with him playing at his peak, he couldn’t change the fate of the Panthers. McCaffrey’s individual brilliance is why he is ranked in the top 10. But the position he plays is why he is ranked eighth rather than third or fourth.

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Darius Leonard is already one of the best linebackers in the league.


7. Colts LB Darius Leonard (24)

Fun fact about Leonard: in 2018, after an incredible campaign of 163 tackles, he captured the two Defensive Rookie of the Year and first All-Pro team honors, but he didn’t make the Pro Bowl. In this sense, the most important contribution of Leonard’s career has not been all his tackles (284 combined since 2018, the third in importance), bags (12) or interceptions (7), it is his 2018 season serve as further proof that the use of Pro Bowls as a measuring stick is as imperfect as the use of a Rotten Tomatoes audience score as proof of the quality of a film. But on the Pro Bowl side, Leonard has already become the best young linebacker in the NFL. He can do a little bit of everything: attack, rush the smuggler and cover the field, which gives him tremendous value in modern NFL.

6. Browns DE Myles Garrett (24 years old)

In the first 37 games of his career, Garrett has recorded 30.5 sacks, which means he averages 0.82 sacks per game. By comparison, the bag leader in the past three seasons, Chandler Jones, has averaged 1.02 bags per game. Garrett has ranked 11th in bags since 2017 when he entered the league as the top pick in the overall standings. Of the 10 players listed above, only Jones, Aaron Donald and Cameron Jordan averaged more bags per game during this period. He goes unnoticed because of how his 2019 season ended prematurely, but Garrett was able to finish with 16 sacks – or one sack per game.

5. Chargers DE Joey Bosa (24)

Like Garrett, the total number of Bosa sacks would have increased if he hadn’t missed as many games in his career. He has only played 51 of the 64 possible games since the Chargers selected him with the third pick in total in 2016. But he still managed to knock down the opposing quarters 40 times for an average of 0.78 sacks per match. He has three seasons of double-digit bags in four years – and in that one season with a total of single-digit bags, he was able to finish with more than 12 bags. For Bosa, it’s about staying on the pitch. If he does, he has a chance of becoming the best edge rusher in the league. But at this point in his career, that hasn’t happened yet.

4. Colts G Quenton Nelson (24)

The only offensive lineman on this list, Nelson has already won two All-Pro first team caps in as many seasons in the NFL. After an impressive rookie season, Nelson found a way to improve in 2019, increasing his penalty count from nine to three with zero pre-snap penalties after being called up for three false starts in 2018. Nelson is not only the best young offensive lineman in the NFL. There is an argument to be made, he is the best goalkeeper in the whole league.

3. Texans QB Deshaun Watson (24)

Without the rise of Lamar Jackson, Watson would have placed second on this list behind Patrick Mahomes. But Jackson’s rise has taken place, which means Watson’s move from second best player under 25 to third best.

No player, apart from Russell Wilson, always does more with less than Watson. As a rookie, he went 3-3 as a quarterback from the Texans in a season where the Texans from the unnamed Deshaun Watson went 1-9. In 2018, he led the Texans to an 11-5 record by throwing 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 551 yards and five touchdowns, even though he was playing behind the league’s worst offense. Last season, he again coached the Texans in the playoffs while throwing for 3,852 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushing for 413 yards and seven touchdowns in a 15-game season.

In 2020, his task will be to lead the Texans to the playoffs for a third consecutive season, this time without his best playmaker DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded to the Cardinals this off-season for a paid backtrack and a second-choice pick tower. It’s almost as if the Texans are trying to make Watson’s life as difficult as possible. Based on his first three seasons, Watson will likely find a way to overcome the dubious decisions of Bill O’Brien’s staff.

2. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (23)

The reigning MVP is more than just reincarnated Michael Vick. While Jackson broke Vick’s record for rushing yards in one season by a quarterback in 2019, finishing with 1,206 yards rushing and seven touchdowns, which can sometimes be overlooked is how phenomenal it was to throw the ball (almost like he’s always been in the best position to play the quarterback) back in the NFL). as opposed to, say, a wide receiver). Jackson completed 66.1% of his passes for 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns, six interceptions and a pass score of 113.3.

While you may be disappointed with the number of yards he has thrown, keep in mind that he averages 7.8 yards per attempt, which ranks him 13th (almost identical to the average for yards). Watson’s attempt) and led the league in touchdowns and touchdown rates (9 percent). For comparison, Jameis Winston finished second with 33 touchdown passes. To do this, he had to try 626 passes. So Jackson threw three more touchdowns while attempting 225 fewer assists than Winston – not to mention that Jackson also threw 24 fewer interceptions. By DYAR, he placed fifth. By DVOA, he placed second. By total QBR, he ranked first.

What scares Jackson is that 2019 was his first full season as a starter. It is entirely possible that he can continue to climb as he gains more experience. Unlike so many other young quarters, Jackson has the advantage of playing for one of the best coaches and the smartest teams in the league.

1. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (24)

The only correct answer. Mahomes is not only the best player under the age of 25. He is the best football player. The 2018 regular season MVP and Super Bowl LIV MVP, Mahomes is capable of clearing a 24-point deficit in just one quarter, and one of only two quarters in the history of the NFL to have thrown for more than 5,000 yards and 50 -more touchdowns in a single season. Mahomes est le prince qui a été promis.

Mettons sa grandeur en perspective. Y compris les séries éliminatoires, il possède un record de victoires-défaites de 28-8 en tant que quart-arrière de départ, assez bon pour un pourcentage de victoires de 0,78. À titre de comparaison, le pourcentage de victoires de Tom Brady (y compris les séries éliminatoires) est de 0,77. Au cours des deux dernières saisons, même s’il a raté deux matchs complets au cours de cette période, il se classe premier en passes de touché – 10 de plus que Russell Wilson en deuxième place. Même si son taux de toucher des roues a chuté de façon prévisible en 2019 de 8,6% à 5,4% en raison de la force imparable de la nature connue sous le nom de régression, ce qui est remarquable dans sa saison 2019, c’est qu’il a réduit de moitié son taux d’interception (2,1% à 1,0%).

Mahomes n’a peut-être plus jamais lancé 5000 mètres et 50 touchés, mais il s’améliore encore. C’est ce qui fait si peur; à 24 ans, après seulement deux saisons complètes en tant que quart-arrière partant, il est le meilleur joueur de football et il ne fait que commencer. Il est peut-être tôt, mais Mahomes a une chance de devenir le meilleur quart-arrière de l’histoire de la NFL.

Juste raté la coupe: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, 49ers LB Fred Warner, Bears LB Roquan Smith, Bengals RB Joe Mixon, Bills LB Tremaine Edmunds, Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb, Cardinals S Budda Baker, Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch, Jaguars WR D.J. Chark, Jaguars DE Josh Allen, Packers CB Jaire Alexander, Panthers WR D.J. Moore, Ravens TE Mark Andrews, Ravens OT Orlando Brown, Redskins WR Terry McLaurin, Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf, Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Titans CB Adoree ‘Jackson.


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