Ranking The 25 Best Under 25 Players In The NFL Right Now

The NFL has a lot of young talent throughout the game. There are dozens of players who could move onto this list at any moment. This list doesn’t include rookies from the 2017 season because the sample size is too small and anything can happen on any given week in the NFL. These are the 25 best players under the age of 25 at the start of the 2017 season.

25. Taylor Decker, OT, Detroit Lions
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Shoulder surgery has delayed his 2017 season, but Decker is one of the best young tackles in the NFL at only age 24. He was consistent in both run and pass blocking, and as we are seeing around the NFL this year, good offensive linemen are hard to find. The Lions have a solid left tackle in Decker who should get better as the years go on.

24. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
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The 24-year-old wideout already has two Pro Bowl appearances under his belt. His last two seasons have seen him haul in 204 passes for 2,293 yards and eight scores. He is already one of the better possession receivers in the NFL.

23. Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
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Henry, 23, is one of the best talents at the tight end position. He could be joined by some others from the 2017 Draft class, but right now Henry stands alone. Last season, he had 36 receptions for 478 yards and eight touchdowns in an offense where he wasn’t featured enough. The Chargers are still too attached to Antonio Gates, which has limited Henry’s involvement, but, once the Chargers move on from Gates, we could see some dominant football from Henry.

22. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars
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He has all the makings of being a shut-down corner in this league. Last season, he led all rookies in passes defensed with 10 and finished second in catch percentage in coverage with 52.9 percent, which was also good enough for 12th in the NFL. At only age 22, the 5th overall pick certainly lived up to his potential.

21. Trai Turner, OG, Carolina Panthers
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Turner, 23, already has two Pro Bowls under his belt and is one of the best guards in the game already. He struggled a bit last year, but was still good enough to earn a Pro Bowl nod. He should be one of the better interior offensive linemen in the NFL for some years to come.

20. Leonard Williams, DE, New York Jets
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Now entering his third season Williams, 23, has seen his game grow in each season. As a rookie, he excelled against the run. Last season, he started getting to the quarterback, racking up seven sacks and earning a trip to his first Pro Bowl. The Jets are in rebuild mode thanks to a lot of missed first round picks, but Williams isn’t one of them.

19. Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots
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Cooks is still just 24 but has been in the NFL since 2014. He was a favorite target of Drew Brees while in New Orleans and should be a welcome addition in New England who will use his speed to stretch defenses and allow Tom Brady to go vertical more often. In his first three seasons, Cooks totaled 2,861 yards on 215 catches, 20 of which were touchdowns. Those numbers should improve in New England.

18. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Green Bay Packers
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Clinton-Dix, 24, was tied for second among safeties with five interceptions last season. He finished third on the team with 79 total tackles and was named to his first Pro Bowl. He is quickly becoming the playmaker the Packers have lacked in the secondary since Charles Woodson left.

17. Jadeveon Clowney, LB, Houston Texans
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Clowney, 24, got off to a slow start in his NFL career due to injuries. Last season, however, he finally got to show what he is capable of. He registered six sacks, which might not seem like a lot for a player whose game was built around rushing the passer, but he ranked third at his position against the run behind only Von Miller and Khalil Mack, according to Pro Football Focus. A healthy season from him should cement his status as an elite defender in 2017.

16. Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins
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Last season, the 24-year-old became only the fourth running back in NFL history to post three 200-yard games in the same season. He finished the season fourth in rushing with 1,272 yards and added eight touchdowns on a healthy 4.9 yards per carry.

15. Keanu Neal, S, Atlanta Falcons
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Despite being only 22 years old, he graded as the second-best safety in coverage his rookie season, according to Pro Football Focus last season. He also had 105 total tackles, which was second on the team. The 16th overall pick also placed third in the NFL with five forced fumbles and is a core building block for a Falcons secondary that is being compared to Seattle’s legion of boom.

14. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
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Hill, 22, showed how dynamic he can be last season on kick returns. He led the NFL in punt return yardage with 592 and two touchdowns. He added another touchdown and 384 on 14 kickoffs. He made First-team All-Pro and the Pro Bowl last season. He emerged late last season as a receiver, gathering five catches for 98 yards and a score against the Indianapolis Colts. He had six rushes for 95 yards and a score against Denver in Week 15. His speed might be unmatched in the game right now. He is a danger to score any time he touches the ball and is a threat out of the backfield as well.

13. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
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It’s hard to believe he was the fifth wide receiver taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. He led all rookie receivers with 92 receptions for 1,137 yards. He is the primary weapon in the Saints’ still dangerous passing attack, and it was his development that allowed the Saints to part ways with Brandin Cooks. Thomas, 24, is a building block in the potential Saints rebuild.

12. Landon Collins, S, New York Giants
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Collins ranked as the top safety in football last season, according to Pro Football Focus. The 23-year old led the Giants with 125 total tackles, tied for the NFL lead with 13 passes defensed, and was second among safeties and fifth in the NFL with five interceptions. The second-round pick has certainly blown his draft-day projections out of the water.

11. Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Winston, 23, threw for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He also threw more TDs than INTs in each season and improved his TD totals from 22 to 28 over the last two years. His completion percentage also improved from 58.3 in his inaugural campaign to 60.8 percent last year. He might turn the ball over a bit too much, but there is no denying he is a good quarterback who should be able to have a successful career in this league.

10. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The 24-year-old receiver already has 3,578 yards receiving and 27 touchdowns on 238 receptions in his first three seasons. He is a favorite target of Jameis Winston’s, and for good reason. With more weapons for the 2017 season, Evans could actually play a more important role for the Buccaneers. He will still get his targets, but now he might be able to do more with those targets.

9. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
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Two 1,000-yard campaigns are already behind Cooper, 23, along with two Pro Bowl appearances; not a bad start to any career. He would rank higher if he caught more touchdown passes, but that will come in time as he continues to develop his game.

8. Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
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Mariota, 23, had a solid rookie campaign in 2015, throwing 19 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions and completing 62.2 percent of his passes for a 91.5 rating. Last season, he improved as he tossed 26 touchdowns, reduced his interceptions to nine despite playing in three more games, and threw for 3,426 yards. The Titans are starting to give him weapons, and in time he should emerge as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

7. Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers
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Bosa, 22, held out to start the year last season. He would end up missing the first four games, but once he hit the field, it was an immediate impact. He ended the year with 10.5 sacks, which led the team. Now with a full training camp, quarterbacks around the league have a reason to stay up at night.

6. Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears
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Despite only being a 5th round pick, Howard, 22, finished second in the NFL in rushing during his rookie season last year with 1,313 yards. His 5.2 yards per carry was even better than 4th-overall pick Ezekiel Elliott’s 5.1 YPC. While his total yardage and YPC were quite impressive, the Bears had a middling offensive line and he didn’t even get playing time until a few weeks into the season. It will be interesting to see what Howard can do with better line in front of him.

5. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
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It isn’t often you see a fourth-round pick start for an NFL team in his rookie year. It is even rarer to see that player do what Prescott, 24, did last year. He completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns while only tossing four interceptions. He also added six rushing touchdowns. There is good reason for Cowboys fans to be excited, and Prescott is a big reason why.

4. Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
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In his rookie season two seasons ago, Peters, 24, lead the NFL in interceptions with eight two of which he returned for scores. He was also named a Second-team All-Pro. Last season, he added a six interception campaign and earned First-team All-Pro honors. He also has two Pro Bowls under his belt to start a very bright career.

3. Jack Conklin, OT, Tennessee Titans
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In his rookie season, Conklin, 23, ranked fifth among offensive tackles last year with an 88.9 grade according to Pro Football Focus. The 8th overall pick was named a First-team All-Pro at right tackle and is one of the core reasons the Titans are on the rise. Marcus Mariota has plenty of protection for many years to come.

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
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Elliott, 22, had a rookie campaign to remember. He led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards on 5.1 yards per carry. His rushing total was third most for a rookie in NFL history, and he was the first rookie since Edgerrin James in 1999 to accomplish the feat. He also added 15 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown to the list for good measure.

1. Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, New York Giants
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Beckham will turn 25 in November, so this is his last year of eligibility for this list. His numbers are pacing to be one of the best pass-catchers ever. In his four seasons, he has caught 288 passes for 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns. He has never caught fewer than 91 passes since entering the NFL in 2014, and despite being the lone threat on the field for the Giants some games, he still put up excellent numbers. He is setting numerous records along the way, including the most receiving yards in first two seasons with 2,744 and matched Lance Alworth as the fastest to reach 4,000 yards in his career.