Every NFL Team's Most Promising Youngster

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystOctober 15, 2021

Every NFL Team's Most Promising Youngster

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    In the NFL, youth isn't wasted on the young. Professional football is a young man's game (unless you're Tom Brady). In fact, every single franchise's average age is 27 or younger, per Spotrac

    The days of loading up on veterans in an attempt for quick turnarounds or holding on to certain names well past their prime are long gone. Current rosters are often built around a few key veterans while collecting the bulk of the roster in their prime years, with young players serving as a crucial component to the salary cap because of their relatively cheap rookie deals. 

    Brady and Andrew Whitworth are anomalies. They skew the numbers away from the majority of NFL rosters. 

    Otherwise, every front office wants to build around a marquee talent entering his prime years. These individuals have yet to reach 25 years old and already showed promising signs with early production coupled with extensive growth potential.

    These are the youth gone wild as the NFL never appeared too big for them. 

Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray

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    Once upon a time, the Arizona Cardinals had a "difficult" decision to make.

    General manager Steve Keim and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury owned the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, with Kyler Murray sitting there as a perfect fit for Kingbury's offense. Even though the team invested a top-10 pick in Josh Rosen the year prior, Arizona did the smart thing by selecting Murray. 

    Fast forward two years. Murray is now a leading MVP candidate, while Rosen is on his fifth team in four seasons. 

    Murray's growth has been impressive. He currently leads the league with a 75.2 completion percentage and is the game's best downfield passer. Plus, his mobility makes him nearly impossible to bottle up when everything breaks down. 

    In Year 3, the 24-year-old quarterback staked his claim among the NFL's elite. 

Atlanta Falcons: TE Kyle Pitts

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    Kyle Pitts became the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history when the Atlanta Falcons selected him with this year's fourth overall pick. Pitts exploded Sunday with a nine-catch performance for 119 yards and the first touchdown of his career against the New York Jets. 

    "We all know what Kyle can do," teammate Cordarrelle Patterson told reporters afterward. "[Head coach Arthur Smith] always says he expects stuff like that from Kyle, and we do, too. ... He's got every asset. He's got good speed, hands, routes."

    The 21-year-old is a 6'6", 246-pound target that moves as gracefully as a much-smaller wide receiver. Yet, his adjustments on the ball, coupled with his immense wingspan, are something to behold. 

    Julio Jones may no longer play for the Falcons, but Atlanta still has someone to serve as a standard-bearer at his position. 

Baltimore Ravens: QB Lamar Jackson

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    At 24 years old, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has already led the league in passing touchdowns, became a first-team All-Pro and won the league MVP. 

    All of the ill-informed predraft comments about him switching positions and inability to consistently win in the passing game seem like distant memories, especially after Monday's comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts. 

    Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to complete 85 percent of his passing attempts while throwing for 400 yards. His 86 completion percentage was the highest ever, with at least 40 pass attempts. He broke the Ravens' franchise record with 442 passing yards. 

    By the way, Jackson's combined 1,860 passing and rushing yards are more than 18 teams, per ESPN. He currently ranks top-eight overall in both categories. 

    It doesn't look like teams will figure out the Ravens quarterback anytime soon. 

Buffalo Bills: LB Tremaine Edmunds

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    Tremaine Edmunds already feels like he's been with the Buffalo Bills forever, yet he's still only 23 years old. 

    Edmunds experienced growing pains as a young defender. However, he's been a defensive staple over the last three-plus seasons. He has played all but two regular-season contests and recorded at least 115 tackles in each of his first three campaigns. 

    The two-time Pro Bowl selection brings a rare blend of size (6'5", 250 pounds), speed, length and athleticism to the linebacker position. 

    "He's a baller day-in and day-out," Bills tight end Dawson Knox told reporters. "Any time I've got to match up with him in practice, it's like, you know, good luck to me. I've got to be at the top of my game to either block him or create separation. I mean, he's one of the few linebackers I've ever played against who's bigger than me."

Carolina Panthers: WR DJ Moore

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    The Panthers have done an excellent job acquiring young talent in recent years, which provides multiple options for this selection. Sam Darnold, Brian Burns, Jeremy Chinn and Derrick Brown all received consideration. However, wide receiver DJ Moore is the furthest along. 

    Pro Football Focus graded Moore as the game's third-best wide receiver going into this past weekend's games. Through five games, the 24-year-old ranks ninth overall with 440 receiving yards. 

    The biggest difference is in how the 2018 first-round pick is being treated.

    "D.J. has to take another step this year and be that dominant, physical, go-to receiver on 3rd-and-5 that you're going to, and in the red zone that you're going to," head coach Matt Rhule said in August.

    Last season, three different Carolina receivers had 97 or more targets. Moore ranked second on the team. Now, he's the clear No. 1 with 31 more targets than anyone else. 

Chicago Bears: LB Roquan Smith

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    The Chicago Bears have a long and illustrious history of great middle linebackers. Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher defined Bears football for decades. Roquan Smith is now working his way into that conversation. 

    Smith currently ranks fifth with 50 total tackles, sixth among linebackers in completion percentage allowed and eighth in passer rating allowed, according to The Draft Wire's Jacob Infante. He also has the second-lowest missed tackle rate among the league's top 10 tacklers. 

    Despite the position's overall devaluation, the Bears invested the eighth pick in the 2018 draft in the off-ball linebacker—Smith's skill set was still far too valuable not to be taken early in his respective class. The 24-year-old excels with his insane range, covering as much or more ground than any other linebacker in the game. 

Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja'Marr Chase

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    Really, an argument could be made in Joe Burrow's favor over Ja'Marr Chase, and no one would complain. OK, it's the internet, and someone always complains, but a strong case can be built for both members of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

    Chase gets the nod here for two reasons.

    First, the wide receiver presents the potential to develop into the very best at his position. Yes, quarterbacks are more valuable overall, and Burrow is extremely talented, but a glass ceiling may exist regarding his upside considering the other young quarterbacks in the league. 

    Second, Chase is only 21 years old—Burrow turns 25 later this year—and he's already counted among the league leaders in receiving yards and touchdown receptions. Randy Moss is the only other receiver in NFL history to post 400 receiving yards and five touchdowns in his first five games, per CBS Sports

Cleveland Browns: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

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    The Cleveland Browns couldn't believe it when linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell all the way to the 52nd overall pick in this year's NFL draft. General manager Andrew Berry swung a deal to trade up and acquire the reigning Butkus Award winner. 

    Owusu-Koramoah is a special athlete who excels working in space and as an aggressive defender who slices his way through offenses as a run defender and blitzer. 

    Pro Football Focus graded Owusu-Koramoah as the league's top overall rookie through the first quarter of the season. The hybrid is tied for first among all rookie defenders with four forced incompletions.

    At 21 years old, the Browns now have a difference-maker in their second line of defense to go along with Myles Garrett up front and Denzel Ward in the secondary. 

Dallas Cowboys: CB Trevon Diggs

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    Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs looks like a different player in his second season. Diggs wasn't terrible during his 12 starts as a rookie. But his confidence level has skyrocketed under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, which has resulted in game-changing play from the defensive back in Year 2. 

    Diggs leads the NFL with six interceptions through five games, snagging one in every contest so far. 

    "He has a really good feel for the game," New England Patriots quarterback and former Alabama teammate Mac Jones told reporters Wednesday "He's very instinctual, very smart, fast, quick, explosive, strong, so he does it all really well."

    Admittedly, Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb could easily usurp Diggs for this spot. However, the 24-year-old cornerback is now at the forefront of the NFL Defensive Player of the Year conversation and deserves recognition. 

Denver Broncos: RB Javonte Williams

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    It's only a matter of time before the Denver Broncos coaching staff decides to reduce Melvin Gordon III's workload and feature rookie running back Javonte Williams a little more. 

    Right now, the two are splitting reps and carries pretty evenly. Both are quite effective in the current offense, though the realization will eventually come that Gordon is 28 years old and not under contract next season. The 21-year-old Williams, whom the organization chose with this year's 35th overall draft pick after trading up for him, should eventually become Denver's offensive focal point. 

    Williams is already counted the league's top runners in explosive run rate and forced missed tackles per attempt, according to Pro Football Focus' Kent Weyrauch

    The Broncos aren't set at quarterback, so Williams is the present and future of Denver's offense until the franchise finds its leader behind center. 

Detroit Lions: TE T.J. Hockenson

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    Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce are 32 years old. Nagging injuries have derailed George Kittle in the past year-plus. As such, the Detroit Lions' T.J. Hockenson has a chance to emerge as the game's best pure Y-tight end.

    The Lions didn't select Hockenson with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 draft because he's a one-in-a-lifetime receiving threat like the Atlanta Falcons' Kyle Pitts. Instead, Hockenson is a complete tight end capable of impacting a game as both a blocker and receiver.

    Right now, Hockenson must serve as a primary receiving threat because Detroit features the league's worst wide receiver corps. He's second on the team in receiving yards and receptions behind running back D'Andre Swift.

    Overall, the Lions are in the middle of a rebuild. The likes of Hockenson and Swift are the players who will lead the franchise into the future.

Green Bay Packers: CB Jaire Alexander

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    Jaire Alexander is currently on short-term injured reserve with a shoulder issue that's bothered him through the early portions of the campaign. 

    "We're hopeful it'll heal the right way and he'll be back with us in a matter of weeks," Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said last week. 

    Surgery remains an option, though the Packers hope Alexander can return later this season. 

    Despite his current status, Alexander's standing as one of the game's best pure cover corners shouldn't be forgotten. The 24-year-old defensive back was the only starting corner with a 90 coverage grade last year, per Pro Football Focus

    Alexander can shadow and cover any wide receiver, so he'll eventually be paid among the league's best with just one year remaining on his rookie deal. An elite talent at a premium position under the age of 25 is priceless. 

Houston Texans: S Justin Reid

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    The Houston Texans are simultaneously one of the league's worst and oldest teams, as quality performers under the age of 25 aren't exactly prevalent. However, the 24-year-old Justin Reid has started 44 of 48 games over the last three-plus seasons. 

    Reid is a complete safety capable of taking on many roles. But the most important is being a team leader after the immense turnover the roster endured under new general manager Nick Caserio. 

    "I try and look at myself. I spent every day this week going and talking to our defensive coordinator, just watching the tape, seeing whatever I can do to help the team more," Reid said about trying to make the Texans better. 

    The defensive back is a free agent after this season, and the Texans should attempt to retain his services. 

Indianapolis Colts: RB Jonathan Taylor

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    Jonathan Taylor came on strong during the final month of his rookie campaign. The now-22-year-old ball-carrier finished third last season with 1,169 rushing yards, and he's continued down his productive path in Year 2. 

    Taylor has always been a natural runner and reliable workhorse, but his growth as a receiver makes him even more valuable. Sure, the back can still look lost with his route-running at times. Then again, he just went and posted a career-high Monday with 116 receiving yards—including a 76-yard scamper on a simple swing pass—against the Baltimore Ravens. He's a big-time threat in both phases. 

    As the Indianapolis Colts, particularly quarterback Carson Wentz, continue to find their footing, they can lean on Taylor and the team's rotation of backs to help make life easier on an offensive front that's still dealing with multiple injuries. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence

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    Don't let a slow start to a rookie year while playing for the worst team in professional football allow anyone to forget just how talented Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence really is.

    Sure, his performance has been rough—his eight interceptions are second-worst, only behind fellow rookie Zach Wilson. But Lawrence is being asked to carry a roster that is simply not built to compete with any consistency.

    Despite the 0-5 record and the turnovers, growth can still be seen. Lawrence can make the types of throws with ease that some rookie quarterbacks can't. Everything must become more efficient overall, but Lawrence is still the same young man who went wire-to-wire last year's No. 1 overall prospect.

    It's still very early in his career. He's going to make mistakes. But Lawrence is easily the top selling point for the entire Jaguars franchise.

Kansas City Chiefs: C Creed Humphrey

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    The Kansas City Chiefs' Creed Humphry is the league's highest-graded rookie and top overall center, according to Pro Football Focus. 

    General manager Brett Veach made the offensive line a priority this offseason after how poorly this unit played in Super Bowl LV.

    Humphrey's selection with this year's 63rd overall pick was but one of the multiple moves the front office made to fortify Mahomes' protection. Humphrey quickly acclimated as the team's starting center and already appears to be a long-term building block for the organization. 

    The Chiefs' center continues to improve with each passing week, too, especially in pass protection and overall recognition—which is vital to the position. Now, Kansas City is set along its interior with Humphrey, Joe Thuney and Trey Smith. 

Las Vegas Raiders: Edge Maxx Crosby

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    Maxx Crosby's story is about perseverance and dedication to his craft. Crosby is recovering from alcoholism

    "I knew deep down I had a problem from the day I started drinking in high school," Crosby told the Las Vegas Sun's Case Keefer. "I couldn't drink without throwing up. That was the reality of it. I knew I couldn't handle it."

    Now almost two years sober, the results speak for themselves on the field. Going into Sunday's contest against the Chicago Bears, Crosby ranked first overall in quarterback pressures with 30 and pass-rush win rate, per Pro Football Focus. He was second in pass-rush grade.

    Consistent pressure is just as effective as actual sacks, which places Crosby in the same category as Myles Garrett, Joey Bosa and Danielle Hunter.

Los Angeles Chargers: QB Justin Herbert

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    The Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert is changing the conversation.

    The second-year signal-caller isn't just a great young talent; he may be the most sought-after quarterback in the NFL. Some may scoff at the notion, but he's definitely in the same conversation with the league's best, including Patrick Mahomes. 

    The reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year already owns the record for the most 300-yard passing games (11) through a player's first two seasons, with 12 more to play this year. He currently ranks second with 1,328 passing yards from a clean pocket, per Pro Football Focus. The 23-year-old has prototypical size (6'6", 237 pounds), outstanding mobility and the natural arm talent to deliver the ball to all three levels with ease. 

    "He's one of those guys that could throw a strawberry through a battleship," Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale told reporters Wednesday. 

    Herbert continues to exceed every expectation while helping to lead his team into lofty status among the AFC's best. 

Los Angeles Rams: S Jordan Fuller

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    A tradeoff occurred when the Los Angeles Rams decided to invest heavily in proven veterans at premium positions. The addition of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and quarterback Matthew Stafford limited the team's draft assets, particularly without first-round prospects populating the roster.

    To be clear, Los Angeles isn't without talent. The Rams simply lack top names other squads acquired through first-round investments. Even so, general manager Les Snead has done an excellent job filling out the roster with mid- to late-round talent.

    Safety Jordan Fuller was a sixth-round pick in 2020 and started all 12 games he played as a rookie for the NFL's top-ranked defense. Now, the 23-year old is tasked with continuing his progression without his previous running mate, John Johnson III, who left in free agency. Still, the free safety is tied for the team lead with 36 total tackles.

Miami Dolphins: S Jevon Holland

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    Jevon Holland may be considered an interesting choice and possibly a tad early through only five games. After all, the Miami Dolphins had so many draft picks over the last couple of years that others might prefer to highlight linebacker Jerome Baker, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle or edge-rusher Jaelan Phillips. 

    Aside from Baker, who currently leads the team in tackles, the others mentioned are still developing. Meanwhile, Holland already provided legitimate value in Miami's defense. 

    The rookie hybrid, who can play safety or nickel corner, ranks first among all designated safeties with 100 or more coverage snaps by allowing only one reception, according to Pro Football Focus

    Holland opted out of the 2020 college football campaign and fell to the second round. He's quickly showing why he could have been a first-round selection had he played last season. 

Minnesota Vikings: WR Justin Jefferson

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    In a normal year, Justin Jefferson's record-setting rookie campaign would have been more than enough to claim NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year hardware. His 1,400 receiving yards broke Anquan Boldin's previous mark by 23 yards.

    However, Jefferson happened to be in the same class as the Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert, who broke the rookie record for most touchdown passes.

    Jefferson still garnered second-team All-Pro status. He's also built upon his early success and continued as the Minnesota Vikings' No. 1 target. The 6'1", 195-pound receiver leads his team with 33 receptions, 45 targets, 462 yards and 14.0 yards per catch. 

    "He has route-running skills like Keenan Allen," teammate Patrick Peterson explained to The Athletic's Robert Mays. "... They're able to sell certain things where they can be long one way and then come back the other way. They're definitely using [their length] to their advantage."

New England Patriots: QB Mac Jones

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    The New England Patriots appear to have found Tom Brady's replacement a year after the greatest player in franchise history left in free agency. 

    In a draft class where five quarterbacks heard their names called during the first half of the opening frame, Jones had to wait the longest as the 15th overall pick. Yet, the Patriots' signal-caller leads all rookies in completion percentage, passer rating and passing yards. He's fifth overall with a 71.1 completion percentage. His 135 completions through the first five weeks tied a rookie record, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

    Most importantly, the rookie already built the trust of his teammates as the franchise's new QB1.  

    "I think I've said it every week, just how much we believe in him. The poise you've seen out of him these first [five] weeks, I can't imagine," center David Andrews told reporters Sunday.

New Orleans Saints: C Erik McCoy

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    The New Orleans Saints roster shifted this season.

    Drew Brees' retirement is the obvious difference, but a closer look shows the young players that once emerged to elevate the roster are now core building blocks in their mid-20s. Alvin Kamara, Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk were all outstanding draft picks complementing other top talents. Now, they're the top guys in the Saints locker room.

    The current crop of young talent isn't quite as promising, though center Erik McCoy already established himself as one of the league's better, young interior blockers. However, the Saints' snapper hasn't played since Week 1 due to a calf injury.

    When healthy, McCoy is the anchor to one of the game's best offensive lines. Pro Football Focus graded him as the top rookie lineman in 2020, and he continued his steady performance. If/when he returns this season, he'll help settle a unit that has been in flux due to his and Terron Armstead's absences.

New York Giants: RB Saquon Barkley

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    Everyone is waiting for the day New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is completely healthy again and shows the same talent everyone saw during his rookie season when he captured the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

    Since then, he suffered a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign. The ball-carrier worked his way back and started the first five games this year only to suffer an ankle injury Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

    Up until that point, Barkley didn't look like the same explosive running back from earlier in this career. A knee injury usually needs more than a year before it's back to full strength, especially for a running back who relies on his ability to make sharp cuts and explodes through holes.

    Over time, Barkley should return to form. When he does, he'll regain his status as one of the league's best offensive weapons.

New York Jets: OT Mekhi Becton

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    Mekhi Becton's gargantuan size (6'7", 363 pounds) and rare movement skills present the type of potential to become the game's best offensive tackle. 

    He showed flashes of dominance throughout his rookie campaign. Unfortunately, Becton has dealt with injuries and dings in both his first and second seasons. Currently, the New York Jets left tackle is dealing with a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. He is expected back this season, though. 

    None of his injuries over the past two campaigns are concerning in the long term, but he does need to stay on the field to realize his capabilities. 

    The 22-year-old Becton is a bulldozer when he latches on to defenders—he shouldn't be able to uproot grown men as he does. His length and size make him a mini-planetoid pass-rushers must navigate. 

Philadelphia Eagles: OT Jordan Mailata

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    Jordan Mailata shouldn't be in the NFL, let alone turning into one of the game's best blindside protectors.

    Well, the former Australian rugby player decided to give American football a shot, and the bet on himself paid massive dividends. Mailata signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension this offseason.

    The man-mountain somehow picked up a game he never previously played, did so at the highest level, worked his way into becoming a starter and signed a mega-deal to protect quarterback Jalen Hurts. As long as the Philadelphia Eagles keep him at left tackle, his exponential growth should continue. 

    "Jordan is a freak of nature," said right tackle Lane Johnson said of his 6'8", 365-pound teammate, per ESPN's Tim McManus. "Once he figures it out, he should be able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, how he wants."

Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Chase Claypool

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers' Chase Claypool isn't built like other wide receivers. 

    "You can't teach 6'4", 238, 4.41 time. That's something that doesn't fall off a tree," wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard told reporters in August. "You get a chance to harness that kind of talent and shape it and mold it into something really special."

    Claypool's size, length and speed make him an instant mismatch, particularly as a deep threat and red-zone target. During his rookie campaign, the 2020 second-round draft pick led all rookies with nine touchdown receptions. 

    Issues with Ben Roethsliberger's decline and the Steelers offense haven't helped the second-year receiver, but he still leads Pittsburgh with 341 receiving yards. Once the organization transitions away from the future Hall of Fame quarterback, it already has a true WR1 in place for the team's next starter. 

San Francisco 49ers: LB Fred Warner

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    The San Francisco 49ers know exactly what they have in Fred Warner, hence why the front office made him the NFL's highest-paid off-ball linebacker with a $95.2 million contract extension before Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts surpassed that mark.

    "Elite instincts and awareness against the pass," an AFC coach told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "Got a little bit of that Luke Kuechly in him. He knows exactly what's coming. Long, can feel his range."

    Since being a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the 24-year-old defender played in 53 consecutive regular-season contests and accumulated 412 total tackles. Warner's coverage ability is what separates him from others. 

    According to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers defender tied for the best single-season coverage grade among linebackers since the start of the 2017 campaign. Warner's instincts and coverage skills make him the game's best off-ball linebacker. 

Seattle Seahawks: WR DK Metcalf

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    The raw physicality DK Metcalf brings to the wide receiver position is something to behold. The 23-year-old Metcalf is a 6'4", 235-pound target who also looks like he's chiseled from granite. 

    "He's so physical that he finds himself in situations where he's overwhelming a guy at times, so he needs to know how the officials are calling it and when to throw his hands up," Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters in September after Metcalf let his emotions get the best of him during a game. "I'm OK with what he's trying to do. He's battling and competing, but we have to do it within the guidelines."

    Metcalf fell to the final pick of the second round in the 2019 NFL draft because teams weren't entirely sold on his lateral agility or lack of diversity in his collegiate route tree. Neither of those supposed issues became a problem in the NFL with 166 catches for 2,586 yards and 22 touchdowns in his 37 regular-season appearances. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Tristan Wirfs

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    Tom Brady's signing last offseason redefined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization. At the same time, the Buccaneers did some excellent work during the 2020 draft to solidify certain portions of the roster, particularly the right side of the offensive line. 

    Amazingly, Iowa offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs remained available with the 13th overall pick. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht made a quick swap with the San Francisco 49ers and nabbed arguably the best offensive tackle prospect in the entire class. 

    Wirfs quickly established himself as one of the league's best right tackles. He allowed only one sack as a rookie, and he's been even better this fall by not being credited with a single sack, per Pro Football Focus. The 22-year-old also ranks second among tackles in pressure percentage in true pass sets, according to PFF's Austin Gayle

Tennessee Titans: DT Jeffery Simmons

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    The Tennessee Titans took a significant risk when they chose defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons with the 19th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. 

    Simmons tore his ACL while training for the draft and wasn't fully healed for the start of his first NFL campaign. Also, Simmons had been arrested and pleaded no contest for hitting a woman when he was still in high school. He apologized for the incident and recovered nicely from the injury. 

    On the field, the Titans have been rewarded with Simmons' development into an elite interior defender. 

    "No one is Aaron Donald, but he might be the closest," an NFL general manager told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler before the start of the season. 

    An AFC scout added, "Highest upside—he just does different stuff, and was basically playing on one leg and was pretty good early on." 

Washington Football Team: Edge Chase Young

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    The Washington Football Team's defense lays claim to the most disappointing performance of the early season. The group finished second overall in total defense last season. The unit regressed to 27th this fall, including 31st in scoring defense.

    Washington has too much talent on that side of the ball to be playing so poorly. Even so, no one can overlook how much ability the defensive line boasts. Four first-rounders lead the way, with Chase Young considered as the organization's crown jewel.

    The franchise has many problems, but Young isn't one of them. He and Jonathan Allen are doing their part. In Young's case, his lone sack belies the 22-year-old's capabilities of creating pressure.

    Disappointment is created through expectations. Young was supposed to join those in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year conversation. He's yet to do so, but this doesn't mean he won't eventually.


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