NFL's Top 25 Under 25: Does Mark Sanchez Make the Top 5?
There are many fantastic players in the NFL. From Peyton Manning, to Andre Johnson and Tom Brady. But I am here to discuss the top players in the NFL under the age of 25.
For your information, I AM counting players that are at the age of 25. Tell me if I missed anyone, because I was mostly looking for developing players and may have forgotten some stars under 25. For running backs, I am counting a receiving touchdown in the TD list.
Honerable Mention: Chad Henne QB, Dolphins
Drafted: 2008: Round 2, 57th overall
Comp %: 62.9
QB rating: 85.3
Henne entered in the middle of last season and did pretty well for the Dolphins.
He was doing great this year but had one bad game verse the Patriots where he threw three picks, still having 300 yards, and now apparently is in the danger of losing his job to another Chad, Chad Pennington. I don't think that that is a good move. Chad seems to be the answer for this team.
Honorable Mention: Keith Rivers LB, Bengals
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 9th overall
Keith Rivers is another player from the new linebacker U, USC. He is an athletic freak, but hasn't lived up to his potential. I think he will be a great player in the league.
Honerable Mention: Josh Freeman QB, Buccaneers
College: Kansas State
Drafted: 2009: Round 1, 17th overall
Comp %: 59.1
QB Rating: 83.4
I will be honest, I did not think this young man had what it took to make it in the NFL. I didn't consider him that good, and he didn't prove me wrong his rookie year.
But he has looked like a whole new QB this season, looking like a young Ben Roethlisberger out there. He still needs to complete more percent of his passes though.
Honorable Mention: Michael Oher OT, Ravens
College: Ole Miss
Drafted: 2009: Round 1, 23 overall
Everyone knows his story from the fantastic film The Blind Side, but he is also a fantastic player. He is a great athlete but is a little inconsistent. He tends to get to high up, but he can make up for it with his athleticism.
#25: Jerod Mayo LB, Patriots
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 10th overall
This young guy has been tearing it up this season, being 2nd in the league in tackles. Many teams have had there Bye weeks though. He is the leader of this young Patriot defense even though he is only 24 years old. He won the AP Defensive rookie of the year two seasons ago. He had 18 tackles last week against the Ravens and 16 the week before that.
#24: Michael Crabtree WR, 49ers
College: Texas Tech
Drafted: 2009: Round 1, 10th overall
The 49ers have been disappointing this season, and Crabtree is no exception. Crabtree had 625 yards last season without playing catch with the QB once and only playing 11 games.
With Alex Smith as the main QB, many expected Crabtree to easily get 1,000 yards this season. He is only on pace to get around 800 yards. He is still very, very talented and had a good game last week, so maybe he can build off of that.
#23: Dez Bryant WR, Cowboys
College: Oklahoma State
Drafted: 2010: 1st round, 24th overall
Dez was the most talked about rookie coming into this season, from not carrying pads, to dropping 54,000 dollars on dinner and to getting injured. He has not lived up to his hype yet, but that is mostly because he had to miss the entire preseason from injury and because Roy Williams is actually doing good.
He is still explosive, already taking a punt back for a touchdown this season, but he needs to play better because right now, he is the fourth option.
#22: Mike Wallace WR, Steelers
Drafted: 2009: Round 3, 84th overall
Three receivers in a row! Mike Wallace has been the best receiver out of the three, even though he has the least amount of catches. He has scored scoring three touchdowns and hauling in 301 yards. He has been one of the biggest deep threats of the season, only having 12 catches but still have 300+ yards.
#21: Mike Jenkins CB, Cowboys
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 25th overall
Terence Newman might get the publicity for the Cowboys, but Jenkins is the better cornerback. He is a great young corner that keeps on getting better. He made his first pro-bowl last season and looks to build on that.
#20: Ndamukong Suh DT, Lions
Drafted: 2010: Round 1, 2nd overall
I don't understand it. It was a mutual agreement that this guy was the best Defensive prospect since Reggie White, and that he was the best player, and yet people didn't think he should go first?
This guy has proven everyone right, dominating this season and already having 4.5 sacks this season. This guy is going to be an All-Pro soon, maybe even this year.
#19: Lesean McCoy RB, Eagles
Drafted: 2009: Round 2, 53rd overall
Rec Yards: 239
Since he has taken over for Brian Westbrook, McCoy has become an absolute stud. This year, he has averaged over 4.5 yards a carry. What is even better is he has played some good teams and his O-line is not that good. He has been a great receiving threat as well. He has a bright, bright future ahead of him.
#18: Curtis Lofton LB, Falcons
Drafted: 2008: Round 2, 37th overall
Curtis Lofton dominated this week, racking up 15 tackles and playing great. He is a dominant middle-linebacker and is a great talent.
#17: Matt Ryan QB, Falcons
College: Boston College
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 3rd overall
Comp %: 60.3
QB rating: 85.3
I hate to say this, but it seems like this guy has gotten worse every season since getting into the NFL. He has done better this season, but most expected more from him.
He has a hall of fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez and a great wide receiver in Roddy White. He has a fantastic running back in Michael Turner as well. I think he is overrated because with all these weapons and a great coach, he is still is not that great.
#16: Jermichael Finley TE, Packers
Drafted: 2008: Round 3, 91st overall
It sucks that this guy got injured this early in the season. The Packers have been a very unlucky team this season, losing a great running back and a Top 5 tight end in the league.
Finley really broke out near the end of last season and didn't miss a step heading into this season. He was on pace to easily break 1,000 yards receiving on the season, but got injured and is out for the rest of the season. A real shame.
#15: Sidney Rice WR, Vikings
College: South Carolina
Drafted: 2007: Round 2, 44th overall
(Last season statistics)
From one injured star to the next. Rice was an afterthought heading into the 2009 season, but really stepped it up and became the No. 1 receiver on the Vikings. He got injured in the off season and has not played yet. He is apparently supposed to come back at around the halfway point of the season, but you never know.
#14: Rashard Mendenhall RB, Steelers
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 23rd overall
Rec Yards: 42
Mendenhall has been an absolute monster for the Steelers this season, averaging 5.4 yards a carry and scoring five touchdowns. He is on pace to break 1,500 yards rushing! The Steelers might not try and run the ball as much with Big Ben Roethlisberger coming back, but he is still a great player.
#13: Brian Orakpo DE, Redskins
Drafted: 2009: Round 1, 13th pick
Brian Orakpo has gone somewhat under the radar this season, but he has been a force so far this season. He is on pace to get near 15 sacks. He has helped the Redskins become pretty good this season.
#12: Hakeem Nicks WR, Giants
College: North Carolina
Drafted: 2009 Round 1, 29th pick
Hakeem Nicks has straight up dominated this season, tying for second in the league for touchdowns. No one thought he would be this great this season. He didn't play great against the Texans this week, but he is still the No. 1 option on the team. I think that he has become a top 15 receiver in this league.
#11: Jonathan Stewart RB, Carolina Pathers
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 13th overall
Rec Yards: 77
Some may disagree here. But most of you are wrong. See, most of the media does 180's every week and then people copy them and are too reactionary.
The quarterbacks have straight up sucked this season in Carolina, but mostly because Steve Smith is injured and Clausen was throwing to three rookies and a guy they got off waivers. Stewart may be a backup by title, but he is a great player and would be a No. 1 running back on many, many teams out there.
#10: Desean Jackson WR, Eagles
Drafted: 2008: Round 2, 49th overall
Truly the best deep threat in the NFL, Desean Jackson is a great player. Standing only 5'10" and 175 pounds soaking wet, he has played pretty good thus far this season. He got brutally injured last week against the Falcons, and will probably miss next week.
#9: Jake Long T, Dolphins
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 1st overall
Long has been the anchor of the Dolphins and protects the blind side of Henne. Ever since he stepped in Day 1, he has dominated the NFL. He has made the pro-bowl every year since entering the league and is fun to watch.
#8: Joe Flacco QB, Ravens
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 18th overall
Comp %: 60.5
QB Rating: 80.2
To be blunt, Joe Flacco has under preformed this season. For the first time in forever, Baltimore has serious receiving threats. They might have the best receiving core in the league! There is no doubt that Flacco is better than his stats have shown, but he needs to improve to be considered an elite NFL QB.
#7: Clay Matthews LB, Packers
Drafted: 2009: Round 1, 26th overall
This picture above is one of the reasons I don't have this kid higher. I think he is a cheat and a doper. Despite that, I can't deny that this guy is a great talent and player. He leads the league in sacks and is on pace to break the sack record in a single season. Of course he wont get it, but it shows how great he is doing.
#6: Mark Sanchez QB, Jets
Drafted: 2009: Round 1, 5th overall
Comp %: 55.4
QB Rating: 86.4
Nope. He did not crack the top five, but that doesn't mean he is a great player. I think that he will if he has not already become an elite QB. He hadn't thrown an interception all season until last week in Week 6, which bodes well to his improvement, considering he threw 20 Interceptions last season.
Like Freeman, he is not completing many of his passes, but he is still a young player and will get better.
#5: Ray Rice RB, Ravens
Drafted: 2008: Round 2, 55th overall
Rec Yards: 138
What a great draft for Baltimore. With one pick, they get there franchise quarterback and with the next, they get there franchise back. This guy is a great player. He is not only an underrated running back, but receiver as well.
I don't think Baltimore would have made the playoffs last season if it were not for Ray Rice's play. His receiving numbers are down this season, which you can expect with all the new weapons in Baltimore, but he is still a big threat. Once Joe Flacco starts playing better I fully expect Ray Rice to start dominating again like he did last season
#4: Joe Thomas
Drafted: 2007: Round 1, 3rd overall
One of the great tackles in the league, many were debating if this was the better pick over Brady Quinn. I am laughing right now, it is pretty funny. This guy is a monster, and is one of the few bright spots on the Cleveland roster. He lead the way for Jerome Harrison last season.
#3: Ryan Clady T, Broncos
College: Boise State
Sorry for the blurry picture. I think the picture looks A) like a mugshot and B) like Lil Wayne. Besides that, this guy is a monster. He is probably the best tackle in the league and he is at the young age of only 24. Look for him to dominate for years and make the hall of fame.
#2: Adrian Peterson RB, Vikings
AP has been a monster this season. Whenever I watch the Vikings, it seems like on every run that Adrian Peterson gets he has to break three tackles just to get to the line of scrimmage.
One thing that I have noticed about Adrian Peterson this season is his fumbling. He has not lost one single fumble this season! That was one of the reasons people were turned off by this guy. He is the most complete player I have ever seen play football.
Emmitt Smith was strong, but wasn't that fast. Sanders was fast as hell but not a down hill runner. But this guy is fast as hell and is one of the strongest running backs in the league.
#1: Chris Johnson RB, Titans
Drafted: 2008: Round 1, 24th overall
Rec Yards: 59
You don't know how many times I flip-flopped on this Adrian Peterson-Chris Johnson ranking. I had AP first, than Johnson, than AP, and now I am sticking with Johnson. Honestly, I think it is a toss-up, both are great. Even though the Vikings offensive line is bad, the Titans O-line is worse.
AP also has a better quarterback who you need to respect more, so teams don't load up the box verse the Vikings as much as they do for the Titans.
Others Who Just Missed the List
Felix Jones, RB- Cowboys
Matt Forte, RB- Bears
Percey Harvin, WR- Vikings
Matthew Stafford, QB- Lions
Jeff Otah, OT- Panthers
Alex Mach, C- Browns
Nate Allen, FS- Eagles
Shonn Greene, RB- Jets