Which NFL player under 25 years old would you start a franchise with? Do you go defense and take someone like Nick Bosa? Or do you go offense and take someone like Jonathan Taylor?
Every year we see a fresh face in the NFL burst onto the scene as a rookie. Sometimes that rookie pans out and sometimes they don’t. There are plenty of players under 25 that have proven they are the backbone of the NFL for years to come. This group of players is going to be impacting the game of football until they retire. That being said, let’s count down the five best NFL players under 25 years old.
First up, we have the Dallas Cowboys 2021 rookie phenom, Micah Parsons. Parsons was nothing short of spectacular in his rookie season. He became a utility player for Dan Quinns defense considering he played both linebacker and defensive end. The crazy part is he excelled at both positions as well as he finished with an 89.8 overall defensive grade and a 93.0 pass-rush grade according to PFF.
Parsons was an elite linebacker at Penn State and when the draft became a realistic chance, he opted out of his final season at Penn State. Parsons took the year to train for the NFL Combine and it ended in Parsons landing in Dallas with the 12th overall pick in the 2021 draft. The fact that Parsons was able to come to the NFL and play at the level he did, shows how ready he was for the league. Parsons is going to be a centerpiece for the Dallas defense for years to come.
Just when we thought Joey Bosa would be the best of the Bosa brothers, in steps Nick Bosa. The second overall pick from the 2019 draft finished with 47 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 16 games and 14 starts in just his rookie season. Bosa did not have a productive sophomore season as he tore his ACL in week two and missed the rest of the year. However, in 2021, he recorded 15.5 sacks with an elite 90.0 pass-rush grade from PFF. Bosa is everything he was advertised to be out of Ohio State and will be that way for years to come.
The fourth spot is a tie between two players both on offense. First, we have Tristan Wirfs the offensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wirfs is already one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL regardless of age. Wirfs started immediately for the Bucs and finished 2021 with an 84.6 overall grade according to PFF. He also has a Super Bowl ring already at only 23 years old and has the fulfilled the job of protecting Tom Brady. Wirfs has a long, accolade-filled career ahead of him already.
Justin Jefferson might not have a Super Bowl ring yet but he has definitely earned some respect on the field. In his rookie year alone Jefferson finished with 1,400 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns as well as 90.4 grade according to PFF. One of the best ways to prove you are the real deal is to then follow up your stellar rookie year with an even better sophomore year and Jefferson easily did that. He finished with 1,616 yards and ten touchdowns with another 90.1 grade from PFF. Jefferson proved he is one of the best young talents regardless of position in the NFL.
Coming in at the third spot, Colts star running back, Jonathan Taylor. Even before his NFL days, Taylor tore up defenses while he was with Wisconsin. He averaged more than 2,000 rushing yards per season in three years at Wisconsin. In his rookie year with the Colts, Taylor put together an impressive campaign after finishing with 1,169 rushing yards.
Much like Justin Jefferson, Taylor followed up his rookie season with a far better sophomore season. Taylor finished the 2021 season as the youngest player in NFL history with at least 2,000 yards from scrimmage and tied the record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He racked up 1,811 rushing yards and 366 receiving yards in 2021. He led the NFL in scrimmage yards, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns at just 22 years old. He also boasts an impressive average of 5.0 and 5.5 yards per attempt in each of the past two seasons. Taylor needs to stay healthy and if he can, he will tear up NFL defenses for a long time.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Chargers captain of the ship, Justin Herbert. In just two seasons Herbert has become of the best quarterbacks in the NFL regardless of age. In his rookie season alone he finished with 4,000 yards, 31 touchdowns, and only ten interceptions. He followed that up with a 5,014 passing yards and 38 touchdown season in year two. Herbert has proven to be ready for the big moments already and that will be the reason he succeeds in this league for a long time. Herbert and the Chargers are on the cusp of being a scary team to play in the NFL.
Which of these players wins a Super Bowl this year? Comment below and join the discussion!