5 NFL Teams with the Best Young Talent

Ryan Riddle@@Ryan_RiddleCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2012

5 NFL Teams with the Best Young Talent

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    After breaking down the most talented players in the NFL under the age of 25 in a previous article, I decided to use that research as a base, building upon the concept a bit further by listing the five teams with the best young talent in the league.

    I used a criteria ranking every NFL talent who was born after the year 1986, which was a fair way to define youth in the NFL.

    From there, I included my personal list of the top 50 rookies entering the league this year and categorized all applicable players within the age range by team.

    Afterwards, with the help of film study and statistics, I ranked each player between Nos. 1 and 10 and totaled up the points from each team in order to generate a ranking of all 32 teams.

    With that said, let's get to it. Here are the five teams with the best young talent in the NFL.

5. Philadelphia Eagles

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    With explosive talents LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson vying for touches, the Eagles may have a legitimate shot at putting their money where their mouth is and becoming a true NFL dynasty.

    Philadelphia has a great incoming draft class, intended to shore up any weaknesses that may have previously existed on defense.

    Expect the Eagles to win their division this year, and they may be an NFL powerhouse for the next two to four years. Yes, I am officially buying the Eagles hype.

    List of key young talent

    Name Position Height Weight Birth Year Round Overall
    LeSean McCoy HB 5'10" 198 1988 2nd 53
    DeSean Jackson WR 5'10" 178 1986 2nd 49
    Jeremy Maclin WR 6'0" 198 1988 1st 19
    Nate Allen S 6'0" 207 1987 2nd 37
    Fletcher Cox DT 6'4" 298 1990 1st 12
    Brandon Graham DE 6'1" 274 1988 1st 13
    Brian Rolle OLB 5'10" 229 1988 6th 193
    Mychal Kendricks OLB 6'0" 239 1990 2nd 46
    Kurt Coleman S 5'10" 192 1988 7th 244
    Vinny Curry DE 6'3" 266 1988 2nd 59
    Brandon Boykin CB 5'9" 182 1990 4th 123

4. Green Bay Packers

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    As if it weren't enough to have the best quarterback in the NFL, who also led the team to the best record in the league last year, the Packers actually should be better this year; This is a scary thought should the team remain healthy. 

    Green Bay is one of the youngest teams in the NFL and clearly one of the most talented. Obviously, expectations are high for those dairy-donning fans in the NFC North.

    Not only will the Packers continue to dominate in this upcoming season, but this is a team that can actually peak in two or three years.

    Green Bay has a rational, if not probable, chance of becoming the team of this decade.

    List of key young talent

    Name Position Height Weight Birth Year Round Overall
    Clay Matthews OLB 6'3" 255 1986 1st 26
    Bryan Bulaga OT 6'5" 314 1989 1st 23
    Josh Sitton OG 6'4" 319 1986 4th 135
    Morgan Burnett S 6'1" 209 1989 3rd 71
    Sam Shields CB 5'11"
    184 1987 UDFA
    Randall Cobb WR 5'10" 191 1990 2nd 64
    Casey Hayward CB 5'11" 192 1989 2nd 62
    Nick Perry LB 6'3" 271 1990 1st 28
    T.J. Lang G 6'4" 307 1987 4th 109
    James Starks RB 6'2" 218 1986 6th 193

3. Kansas City Chiefs

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    There's a lot of optimism in Kansas City this offseason, and perhaps with due cause. The Chiefs were decimated by injuries last season on their way to a disappointing 7-9 record, which ultimately led to the late-season departure of head coach Todd Haley. 

    Now with a healthy roster and locker-room favorite, Romeo Crennel, as the head coach, Chiefs may be the favorites to give the Broncos and Peyton Manning a run for their money in a race to take control of the AFC West, a division that has been up for grabs for several years.

    The Chiefs are a talented young roster that will soon be one of the AFC's elite teams if they can find consistency at the quarterback position.

    List of key young talent

    Name Position Height Weight Birth Year Round Overall
    Brandon Flowers CB 5'10" 189 1986 2nd 35
    Justin Houston OLB 6'3" 258 1989 3rd 70
    Jamaal Charles HB 5'11" 200 1986 3rd 73
    Tyson Jackson DE 6'4" 296 1986 1st 3
    Peyton Hillis RB 6'1" 240 1986 7th 227
    Dexter McCluster HB 5'9" 165 1988 2nd 36
    Jon Asamoah G 6'4" 305 1988 3rd 68
    Eric Berry S 6'0" 211 1988 1st 5
    Javier Arenas CB 5'9" 197 1987 2nd 50
    Jovan Belcher ILB 6'2" 228 1987 UDFA
    Allen Bailey DE 6'3" 285 1987 3rd 86

2. Houston Texans

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    Perhaps an exceedingly telling sign of a Super Bowl contender would be a team with arguably the best young talent in the NFL, combined with the sixth-oldest team in the league. This means Houston is a veteran roster loaded with some of the best young talent in the NFL.

    Sounds like a deadly combination of experience and athleticism meeting perfectly in the middle.

    This is why the Texans were able to compete at a playoff capacity without the help of their most dominant defender (Mario Williams) and their top two quarterbacks, not to mention the injury-plagued season of Andre Johnson, who is one of the most dominating and consistent receivers in the sport.

    The Texans have been slowly building a powerhouse since the arrival of head coach Gary Kubiak.

    List of key young talent

    Name Position Height Weight Birth Year Round Overall
    Brian Cushing OLB 6'3" 243 1987 1st 15
    Arian Foster HB 6'1" 217 1986 UDFA
    J.J. Watt DE 6'5" 290 1989 1st 11
    Whitney Mercilus OLB 6'3" 261 1990 1st 26
    Connor Barwin OLB 6'4" 256 1986 2nd 46
    Ben Tate HB 5'11" 220 1988 2nd 58
    Jared Crick DE 6'4" 279 1989 4th 126
    Kareem Jackson CB 5'11" 196 1988 1st 20
    Quin Glover
    S 6'0" 203 1988 4th 112
    Brice McCain CB 5'9" 182 1986 6th 188
    T.J. Yates QB 6'3" 219 1987 5th 152
    Troy Nolan S 6'0" 207 1986 7th 223
    Earl Mitchell DT 6'2" 296 1987 3rd 81
    Tim Jamison DE 6'2" 263 1986 UDFA

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Tampa Bay showed terrible leadership and discipline last year, winning only four games all season. They may still be a little wet behind the ears, but the Buccaneers are loaded with fresh young talent.

    New head coach Greg Schiano should usher in a new era for the Bucs, changing the culture of the locker room.

    Expectations are high and the talent level is among some of the league's best for this youthful group who is looking to get back on track and into the playoffs for the first time in years.

    Even though significant improvement is to be expected, Tampa Bay is still the youngest team in the NFL and may be a few years away from true dominance.

    Either way, the Bucs are building something special that teams will soon be wary of, as the best from the Bay is yet to come.

    List of key young talent

    Name Position Height Weight Birth Year Round Overall
    Doug Martin RB 5'9" 223 1989 1st 31
    Josh Freeman QB 6'6" 248 1988 1st 17
    Adrian Clayborn DE 6'3" 281 1988 1st 20
    Jeremy Zuttah C 6'4" 303 1986 3rd 83
    Aqib Talib CB 6'1" 202 1986 1st 20
    LeGarrette Blount RB 6'0" 241 1986 UDFA
    Mark Barron SS 6'2" 213 1989 1st 7
    Da'Quan Bowers DE 6'3" 280 1989 2nd 51
    Lavonte David LB 6'1" 233 1990 2nd 58
    Luke Stocker TE 6'5" 253 1988 4th 104
    Mason Foster ILB 6'1" 242 1989 3rd 84
    Dezmon Briscoe WR 6'2" 210 1989 6th 191
    Roy Miller DT 6'1" 310 1987 3rd 81
    Preston Parker WR 6'0" 200 1987 UDFA

    Honorable Mention

    Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys