Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports
The Pouncey twins just missed the cut.
The list of players who just missed the cut, but still merit an honorable mention, begins with the Pouncey twins. Maurkice Pouncey and Mike Pouncey have both wasted no time in forging reputations as highly skilled offensive linemen.
Maurkice currently has the better reputation as the anchor for the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line. However, Mike is closing the gap and becoming a vital cog for the Miami Dolphins at the same position.
Still, both miss out due to the intense competition for spots and the overall quality of offensive players under 25.
One defender who didn't quite make the grade was Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden. He is still as capable as any cover man in the league, but he went off the boil a little bit in 2012. It will be interesting to see how he fares in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton's zone schemes in 2013.
There was also no room for dynamic tight end Aaron Hernandez. The New England Patriots star has simply had too many injuries in his short career. He was also beaten out for a spot on this list by his more renowned teammate, who also plays the same position.
The most contentious omission will be Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin. Although he was outstanding in 2012, Martin's place was given to a runner with greater long-term potential.
If Martin's omission irks some, so will the fact that Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant just missed the list. When he is on his game, the 24-year-old is as good as any receiver in football.
Sadly, there are just too many times when Bryant is off his game. He is not yet the consistent playmaker Michael Irvin was when he wore No. 88 in Dallas.
Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas is another name many might be shocked not to see in the top 25. Thomas is a developing player, but he is also complemented by plenty of talent in the Seattle secondary.
The 24-year-old was also part of the deep coverage that was responsible for the late-game collapse against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC playoffs.
Finally, active inside linebacker Luke Kuechly misses out, despite a fine rookie campaign for the Carolina Panthers. Kuechly was helped by a stout defensive front, led by the brilliant Charles Johnson.
However, that doesn't diminish Kuechly's skills. His omission simply came down to an issue of numbers. There were five spots given to linebackers, and the quintet chosen were deemed more deserving of their places at this point.