21 Sep 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

NFL’s Best Group of Under 25 by Division w/out Rookies

Nov 17, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) talks to wide receiver Marquise Brown (15) prior to their game against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

AFC South: Tennessee

  • Harold Landry III
  • Jeffery Simmons
  • AJ Brown
  • Jonnu Smith
  • Adoree’ Jackson

In my opinion, the best and deepest group on this list that checks all the boxes across many positions. Led by 2nd year WR AJ Brown, the Titans have drafted extremely well as of late, and have been able to find value in players that are deemed to be a reach on draft day. Others, like Harold Landry, were clear-cut 1st round talents coming out of Boston College that somehow fell to the 41st overall where Tennessee could get him. If I did the top-25 under 25 article again next year, Jeffery Simmons might be top 5 on that list. Simmons, who got hurt training for the 2019 draft, was thought to be one of the best DL in the draft. Multiple reports that I read were saying besides Nick Bosa, Simmons was the best DL in his class and if it weren’t for the ACL, he would have gone before Ed Oliver and right in the Josh Allen range.

AFC North: Baltimore

  • Lamar Jackson
  • Marquise Brown
  • Mark Andrews
  • Orlando Brown Jr.
  • Marlon Humphrey

Much like Tennessee, Baltimore has good young players in the right places, but they happen to have the league’s reigning MVP. Along with talented youth, Baltimore also manages to have a great balance of youth and veterans who still provide great production and depth, a pivotal part in their development. Not much needs to be said about Lamar, but like Jonnu Smith in Tennessee, Mark Andrews does what a TE needs to do in every facet of the position. And after Orlando Brown slid on draft day, the Ravens got themselves a quality starting RT to play opposite side of Ronnie Stanley, who is also only 26.

AFC West: Denver

  • Drew Lock
  • Courtland Sutton
  • Noah Fant
  • Bradley Chubb

This Denver team is loaded with young talent on the offensive side, but it all rides on Drew Lock. Besides landing Peyton Manning, John Elway has struggled to get consistent production out of the QB position, but Lock could change that, and with 2nd year TE Noah Fant who should have acclimated himself to the position by now, he should have opportunistic matchups across the field. Fant struggled his rookie season, but to me, the young TE’s get a pass because of how steep the learning curve is. Nobody really discusses the fact that the TE’s have to know all the routes, route options, run blocking, pass blocking, protection audibles etc. etc. Therefore, the aspect that might be most important and take the most time, getting in-sync with the QB, takes longer to develop. However, Fant had more YAC than guys like Odell, Edelman and Tyler Lockett in 2019.

AFC East: Buffalo

  • Josh Allen
  • Tremaine Edmunds
  • Ed Oliver
  • Harrison Phillips

This whole division has a very lackluster group of players under 25. Quinnen Williams in NY didn’t give us much to get excited over, Miami trades anyone they can, and New England is New England. Buffalo is the team trending up, and after a big offseason, like Drew Lock, the stage is set for Josh Allen. This is the year when the excuses run out and we want to see wins with high production. Buffalo’s defense sacked Watson 7 times in last season’s Wild Card game and Allen still couldn’t put points on the board with the extra possessions. But a recent PFF article says that Josh Allen is the league’s least likely QB to seek the check-down. Call it what you will, but the guy isn’t afraid to sling it despite his inconsistent accuracy. The other 3 guys on the list play defense, and had I done this a few months ago, Tre’Davious White would be on it. The defense is young and stacked. It’s literally all on Allen now.           

NFC South: New Orleans

  • Alvin Kamara
  • Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
  • Marcus Williams       
  • Marshon Lattimore    

I’ll admit I flat-out missed Kamara on my top-25 under 25 list. That one’s on me folks. History tells us I could have put Tre-Quan Smith on this list because he’s the number 3 in that offense and he fits the role we’ve seen in the past from other receivers, but that’s too much speculation. Kamara leads the group, but Marcus Williams and Lattimore aren’t far behind. People tend to forget the bad years after the Saints won the Super Bowl. In 2010 and ’11, they went 11-5 and 13-3, respectively. They proceeded to go 7-9 in 5 of the next 6 seasons. Even with Brees throwing for or near 5k yards, the Saints continued to draft poorly and make really, really bad Free Agent moves. In recent years, they have turned around those misfortunes and have continued to add great young players.

NFC North: Green Bay

  • Darnell Savage
  • Jaire Alexander
  • Kenny Clark

It may be a stretch to put Savage on this list, but to those who have seen him play, the potential is there and he’s getting better with that Packer pass-rush in-front of him. Since giving up a TD in 2016 at Maryland, Savage finished his collegiate career targeted 94 times, giving up 0 TD’s with 7 INT’s and 11 PBU’s (PFF). We saw that in GB last year, and paired with fellow DB Jaire Alexander, that secondary is young and very talented.

NFC West: San Francisco

  • Deebo Samuel
  • Kendrick Bourne
  • Nick Bosa
  • Fred Warner
  • Emmanuel Moseley

A lot of fans thought the Niners needed to go after a big-time WR, but they didn’t, and have stood by Kendrick Bourne’s development which should say a lot when you look at the caliber of receivers Kyle Shanahan has coached. Deebo Samuel is a tank with the ball in his hands, Fred Warner is one of the better young LB’s in the league. Nick Bosa is someone you can build a defense around, and Emmanuel Moseley has a devastating DL in-front of him giving him every opportunity to be an aggressive, lock-down Corner.

NFC East: New York Giants

  • Daniel Jones
  • Saquon Barkley
  • Darius Slayton
  • Dexter Lawrence

It’s not very often I give my Giants credit for much. This league is setup where it should take 2-3 years to complete a rebuild, but the Giants have managed to stretch that out to at least 6. But Daniel Jones exceeded expectations last year, Barkley is a top RB, and if the plans for the OL rebuild pan out, he’s a nightmare for defenses. Darius Slayton’s connection with Jones is a good one, and the former 5th-round pick had himself a pretty nice rookie season. Finishing with more TD’s than Deebo Samuel, Marquise Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Terry McLaurin. Some were surprised to see GM Dave Gettleman draft Dexter Lawrence. He had recently traded Snacks Harrison and it sort of de-valued the position, and to turn around and use a 1st round selection to get a guy to replace the former All-Pro 1 tech was a head scratcher. But Lawrence had a really good rookie year, finishing with the best Run Defense grade out of any rookie DT, and also added 30 QB pressures which also topped the position for rookies. All at 340+ pounds.

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