The 2014 NFL season is mere days away, and fans should be pleased to know that the young crop of players is as strong as it's ever been. With that in mind, it's time to rank the 25 best players under the age of 25 heading into the campaign.
In order to meet the criteria for this list, the player cannot be 25 years old as of Thursday, September 4, 2014. If the player turns 25 during the season, he remains eligible.
The rankings were arranged subjectively according to my own expertise, knowledge and thoughts. For example: Four wide receivers made the cut. Out of the four, I believe San Diego's Keenan Allen is the best, which is why I have him ranked ahead of the other three. But in fairness, I could see how another pundit (or fan) could install Chicago's Alshon Jeffery, Arizona's Michael Floyd or Green Bay's Randall Cobb over Allen.
Some of these rankings were very much a matter of personal preference.
With that said, I found the top 10 players fairly easy to choose. It became quite difficult beyond that, but I'm confident that I canvassed the available pool of athletes and picked the correct 25. And yes, I left 24-year-old Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III off the list—his subpar 2013 campaign and lackluster preseason meant I couldn't justify including him over the players who qualified.
I'm sure that many of you will be expecting to see players like Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Texans defensive end JJ Watt (both age 25) on this list, but they (and many others) don't meet the age requirement. I also disqualified incoming rookies, as they have zero sample size and are thus impossible to rank.
But enough talking. Here is my ranking of the 25 best players under the age of 25 heading into the 2014 NFL season.