The NFL columns are about to keep coming in full force as everyone prepares for the 2019 season. For today’s column, I am listing my personal team for who I would want for players 25 and under. These guys have either not hit their prime or just entered it (25-31). I either like what they have done or think they will develop into superior talent.
Quarterback – Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Analysis: I have an unhealthy obsession with him because of his moxy and leadership. I know right now Patrick Mahomes looks like the right choice, but I take Baker for making Cleveland relevant. I just hope he can get the Browns to glory. If anyone can, I think it is him.
Running Back – Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Analysis: I think this is me being a little bit of a homer. The running back crop is heavy for the young guns. But I love everything about Kamara. One of the comparisons I make with him is LaDainian Tomlinson. One of the things LT did so well was making the first guy miss and Kamara seems like he does that almost every time he touches the ball. His balance is unreal.
Wide Receiver – Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Analysis: He just got paid for a reason. Last season he had an 85% catch rate which is the highest since 1992 when the stat became trackable. The next highest was Wes Welker at 77%. The catches, yards and touchdowns are all there. This isn’t even debatable.
Wide Receiver – Juju Smith Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: Two phenomenal season already into his career, easy choice here.
Wide Receiver – Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
Analysis: Ridley is going to be a stud for the Falcons. In a crowded corps of guys who can catch the ball (Jones, Sanu, Hooper, Coleman), the rookie held his own last season with an insane touchdown rate.
Tight End – Evan Engram, New York Giants
Analysis: There were a couple of others considered here, but Engram is a stud. He is a consistent receiver and blocker. Imagine once he gets a decent QB.
Tackle – Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints
Analysis: Absolute fucking unit. If there is one thing the Saints have been fortunate enough to find in the draft, it is offensive lineman and they got a great one with him.
Tackle – Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans
Analysis: Conklin is part of a solid unit with the Titans and I am honestly putting him here by default as I can’t think of too many other tackles that fit the criteria. Most of the league’s best are between 27-30.
Guard – Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts
Analysis: All you need to know is he comes and Andrew Luck only gets sacked 18 times. He is also the youngest of 39 cousins. You must never let anything distract you of that fact.
Guard – Will Hernandez, New York Giants
Analysis: I loved this pick for the Giants in round 2. I think Hernandez ends up being a huge steal in last year’s draft.
Center – Garrett Bradbury, Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: Much like Conklin, Bradbury gets the nod for the simple fact there aren’t many other young starters currently. He is one of the few bright spots on a porous offensive line.
Defensive End – Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers
Analysis: He has 28.5 sacks over 35 games. Despite dealing with injuries for his young career thus far, the upside and potential is there.
Defense End – Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: Much like Joey, his career is off to a rocky start as he won’t play in the preseason. Everything I have read about him is that he makes Joey look like child’s play. I can’t wait to see him suit up. He’s got the NFL pedigree so let’s hope he can stay healthy.
Defensive Tackle – Quinnen Williams, New York Jets
Analysis: Another rookie on my list, I honestly just love this dude’s character and attitude. I think he could really help bolster the Jets defense. Plus you know you are a power player when you sneeze during an interview and without missing a beat, you bless yourself. To follow that up, you thank yourself. What a guy!
Defensive Tackle – Eddie Goldman, Chicago Bears
Analysis: Another Bama product, Goldman has been an absolute stud for the Bears thus far. This was an easy selection for the other DT position.
Outside linebacker – TJ Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: Another family with NFL pedigree, TJ Watt has looked like quite the pass rusher for the Steelers who have had an identity crisis for quite some time. He has notched 20.0 sacks in 31 games proving to be a reliable playmaker off the edge.
Outside Linebacker – Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos
Analysis: The Broncos took him for a reason. He finished his rookie season with 12.0 sacks proving to be the pass rusher everyone thought he was.
Inside Linebacker – Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Analysis: I had a solid debate with myself about this one. The other option was Myles Jack but I went with Jones. The Falcons lost him due to injury last season and the defense was terrible. He can flat out fly sideline to sideline leading to a lot of tackles and turnovers. He has 8 interceptions in not even 2 and a half seasons as a linebacker.
Cornerback – Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints
Analysis: Lattimore helped the Saints reach a defensive prowess we haven’t seen since the 2009-2011 run. Corners are such an important piece in today’s NFL and Lattimore can hang with the best of them. Arguably top 10 at his position, there is no way he doesn’t make the list.
Cornerback – Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
Analysis: A loud mouth enigma, but he backs it up. Ramsey is the best corner in the league currently and it is not debatable right now. Of course he makes it.
Strong Safety – Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers
Analysis: I love me some Derwin James. I remember looking around at my friends when he was drafted and we all had the same though, Chargers hit gold. His rookie season was remarkable with 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions and 13 pass deflections.
Free Safety – Eddie Jackson, Chicago Bears
Analysis: Shades of Ed Reed here. He looks like he may be the best ball hawking safety since the new Hall of Famer. In two seasons, he has been part of 15 turnovers if you include interceptions, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. Not only does he create them, he’s taken five to the house. He is well on his way to catching Ed Reed’s mark of 13.
Kicker – Will Lutz, New Orleans Saints
Analysis: The fact that Sean Payton actually trusts a kicker should tell you what you need to know.
Punter – Michael Dickson, Seattle Seahawks
Analysis: Dickson had a hell of a season last year averaging 48 yards per punt. One of the things Russell Wilson and the Seahawks do well is limiting turnovers and playing the field position game so having a punter who can pin offenses back is huge.