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    • In case anyone gives a rip, here's the full list.   1. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals Turns 25: Aug. 7, 2022 Signed through: 2022* Choosing a player to lead this list was not an easy task, since nearly every candidate still has something to prove at the NFL level. And while that is, of course, the case for Murray, the 2019 first overall pick has been an absolute game-changer during his second NFL season. Arizona made the somewhat controversial decision to trade away 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen last offseason, which set the table for its selection of Murray with the first pick of the 2019 draft. Murray has proved it was the right decision, winning the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year award before making the leap to superstardom in 2020. Murray ranks no lower than 13th in completions, passing yards and pass TDs, and also leads all quarterbacks with 650 yards and 10 scores on the ground. Murray is the top-scoring player in fantasy football and has turned the 6-5 Cardinals into a contender (an impressive feat in a tough NFC West). The do-it-all 23-year-old is the league's best player under age 25.   2. Myles Garrett, EDGE, Cleveland Browns Turns 25: Dec. 29, 2020 Signed through: 2026 Garrett has more than lived up to expectations since being selected with the first pick of the 2017 draft. The dominant edge rusher ranks fifth in the NFL in sacks (40.0), seventh in pass rush wins (215) and 11th in hurries (83) since he entered the league. His 25.5% pass rush win rate trails only that of Robert Quinn, Joey Bosa and Aaron Donald among defenders with at least 500 pass rush attempts during the span. The 6-foot-4, 272-pound Garrett doesn't get many plays off, playing 81% of the defensive snaps when active in 2019 and 80% so far in 2020. Garrett, a second-team All-Pro in 2018, was well on his way to another appearance on the squad before a suspension-shortened 2019 and is on the Defensive Player of the Year short list this season. Garrett is quite possibly the league's best edge rusher and Cleveland knows it, having signed its defensive anchor to a five-year, $125 million extension in July. 3. Quenton Nelson, LG, Indianapolis Colts Turns 25: March 19, 2021 Signed through: 2021* Guards aren't usually considered a high-priority position for teams during draft season, but the Colts felt Nelson was too good to pass on with the sixth pick of the 2018 draft. They were right. Nelson was the team's starting left guard from day one and hasn't looked back, playing nearly every offensive snap since he joined the team. Pro Football Focus graded Nelson as the league's fifth-best guard in 2018, second-best in 2019 and seventh-best so far in 2020. After ranking 30th in the league in pass block win rate as a rookie (including all positions, not just guards), Nelson jumped to 15th in 2019 and is all the way up to sixth in 2020. Nelson was a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro during each of his first two NFL seasons, and he's a near lock to make it a trifecta during his age-24 campaign. 4. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks Turns 25: Dec. 14, 2022 Signed through: 2022 "Limited route tree." "Too many injuries." "Awful 3-cone and short-shuttle performances." "Not a complete player." These are among the excuses for why teams allowed DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf -- a 6-foot-4, 228-pound superhuman with 4.33 wheels and elite strength -- to plummet to the 64th pick of the 2019 draft. Despite having yet to turn 23 years old, Metcalf has already made his doubters pay. Since entering the league, Metcalf ranks fourth in the NFL in touchdown receptions (16) and 10th in receiving yardage (1,939). Metcalf was good as a rookie, but he has made the leap to "great" in 2020. He leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,039) and sits no lower than fifth among wide receivers in touchdown receptions (nine), yards per reception (17.9) and yards per target (11.4). Metcalf is already one of the most intimidating players in the entire league -- let alone among those under age 25 -- and the crazy thing is that he'll still qualify for the 2022 version of this list. Don't be surprised if he's at the top. 5. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens Turns 25: Jan. 7, 2022 Signed through: 2021* Listing the reigning NFL MVP any lower than first might seem like blasphemy at first glance, but remember that this is an evaluation of how these players are currently performing. Jackson has, of course, taken a step back from a dominant 2019 campaign in which he scored 43 touchdowns and set the single-season records in carries (176) and rushing yardage (1,206) by a quarterback. In his first season as a starter, Jackson led the NFL in passing touchdowns and was a first-team All-Pro. Though his numbers are down this season, Jackson is still a difference-maker and has the Ravens in the playoff race at 6-4. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner remains one of the league's best and most versatile weapons, having racked up 1,948 yards through the air, 575 yards on the ground (second most among QBs) and 18 total touchdowns. Since Jackson is only 23 years old, it's possible we've yet to see him at his best. 6. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills Turns 25: May 21, 2021 Signed through: 2021* During the 2018 pre-draft process, there was no way I thought I'd ever be listing Allen as one of the league's best players. I thought wrong. Allen struggled badly with accuracy and decision-making early in his career, but offset that in a big way with his athleticism and rushing ability. After posting the league's worst completion rate (53%) and highest off-target rate (23%) as a rookie, Allen improved his game a bit in his second pro campaign before taking a giant leap forward with a better supporting cast and in a pass-heavy offense here in 2020. 7. Marcus Williams, S, New Orleans Saints Turns 25: Sept. 8, 2021 Signed through: 2020 It's pretty incredible that Williams has yet to turn 25 years old considering that he has been one of the league's top safeties since he was selected with the 42nd overall pick of the 2017 draft. Since joining the Saints, Williams ranks third among NFL safeties in interceptions (13), 10th in passes defensed (28) and 28th in tackles (222). As reliable as they come, Williams has played 87% of the Saints' defensive snaps since he entered the league. The Utah product became a household name for the wrong reasons as a rookie (he was on the wrong side of the Minneapolis Miracle), but that doesn't come close to overshadowing all of the positives he has brought to the New Orleans defense. Williams is a pending free agent and figures to become one of the league's highest-paid safeties this offseason. 8. Budda Baker, S, Arizona Cardinals Turns 25: Jan. 10, 2021 Signed through: 2024 Baker has emerged as one of the league's best and most versatile defensive backs since being drafted 36th overall back in 2017. Baker was a first-team All-Pro as a rookie and is well on his way to his third Pro Bowl appearance in four seasons. After spending time as Arizona's primary slot corner earlier in his career, Baker has settled in as a full-time safety. It's worked out pretty well, as he easily leads all defensive backs with 229 tackles since the start of 2019. He also ranks second in tackles for loss (15.5) and third in pass-rush wins (15) while adding 2.5 sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and a pair of INTs during the span. Baker became the league's highest-paid safety when Arizona signed him to a four-year, $59 million extension in August. 9. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Pittsburgh Steelers Turns 25: Nov. 17, 2021 Signed through: 2021* The 11th overall pick of the 2018 draft, Fitzpatrick got off to a very slow start as he bounced around between safety and corner while with Miami. A trade to Pittsburgh early on in the 2019 season changed everything. The Alabama product immediately stepped in as an every-down safety and helped the Steelers to nothing short of an elite defensive season. Fitzpatrick has been on the field for all but 12 of Pittsburgh's defensive snaps since he joined the team (nine of those were during his past two games). Fitzpatrick's nine interceptions since the start of last season are second most in the NFL, and he also has added 115 tackles, 15 passes defensed and three forced fumbles. A first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in only his second professional season, the 24-year-old Fitzpatrick is already one of the game's best safeties. 10. Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay Packers Turns 25: Feb. 9, 2022 Signed through: 2021* Is Alexander currently the league's best cornerback? If he's not, he's at least in the conversation. The 18th overall pick back in 2018, Alexander flashed as a rookie before taking a leap forward while playing 97% of Green Bay's defensive snaps last season. Alexander racked up 58 tackles, 17 passes defensed (fourth most in the NFL), a pair of INTs and even chipped in with 2.5 tackles for loss. Alexander has missed some game action because of injury this season, but he has been elite when active. In fact, his 80.6 PFF grade is fourth best among all corners. That's despite some tough assignments, including shadow coverage against Adam Thielen (6-110-2 receiving line in the game), Calvin Ridley (0-0-0), Mike Evans (1-10-0), Will Fuller (3-35-1) and Justin Jefferson (3-26-0). Alexander is already one of the game's best corners and the 23-year-old's best days are likely still ahead of him. 11. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Baltimore Ravens Turns 25: July 8, 2021 Signed through: 2026 Humphrey has done it all since being selected with the 16th pick of the 2017 draft. He has operated as a perimeter corner, has shadowed superstar wide receivers and, most recently, has handled primary slot duties for a terrific Baltimore defense. The accolades have followed, as Humphrey made the Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro last season. Earlier this season, he was rewarded with a five-year, $97 million contract extension. The Alabama product ranks first among corners in forced fumbles (seven), fifth in tackles for loss (11.5), 25th in passes defensed (34) and 25th in INTs (six) since being drafted. The 24-year-old is one of the game's top corners and almost certainly the league's best slot corner. 12. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers Turns 25: June 7, 2021 Signed through: 2025 McCaffrey has suffered through an injury-plagued 2020 season, but that does not overshadow a 2019 performance that was surely one of the best ever by a running back. That 2019 season included an astounding 405 touches, 2,392 scrimmage yards and 19 touchdowns, as well as 156 more fantasy points than any other running back. McCaffrey has been an All-Pro each of the past two seasons (first team in 2019) and landed a four-year, $64 million contract extension back in April. Though he has been limited to three games in 2020, McCaffrey has been his usual dominant self when healthy, racking up 374 yards and six touchdowns on 66 touches. McCaffrey is one of three players in league history with at least 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season and is unquestionably one of the league's most productive offensive weapons. 13. Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers Turns 25: Nov. 19, 2021 Signed through: 2021 Many were shocked when the 49ers gave up on pricey 2019 free-agent acquisition Kwon Alexander earlier this offseason, but Warner's emergence as one of the league's best linebackers made the move much easier to stomach. A third-round pick back in 2018, Warner stepped into an every-down role in his first NFL game and hasn't looked back. He has played 97% of the 49ers' defensive snaps since his debut, and has been on the field for nearly 800 more plays than any of his teammates. How's that for reliable? Warner, of course, has also been very effective, as his 326 tackles rank 10th in the entire NFL since he was drafted. He also has 3.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, 18 passes defensed and three interceptions during the span. The 24-year-old has emerged as the anchor of one of the league's top defenses. 14. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Tennessee Titans Turns 25: July 28, 2022 Signed through: 2022* Simmons' ascension to the ranks of the league's best defenders is hardly a surprise, considering that he was widely regarded as one of the best prospects in the 2019 draft class. He surely would've been drafted earlier than 19th overall had he not torn his ACL during a pre-draft training session, but that hardly matters now. The Mississippi State product flashed with a pair of sacks in a limited role as a rookie, but has bloomed into a dominant interior presence during a breakout 2020 campaign. He has already racked up 37 tackles, 16 pass-rush wins, 10 hurries, 4.5 tackles for loss and five passes defensed. Clearly back to full health, Simmons has played a massive 82% of the defensive snaps during 10 active weeks, and PFF has graded him as the league's seventh-best interior defender and 12th-best overall defensive player. 15. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Turns 25: Feb. 27, 2021 Signed through: 2020 Godwin continues to progress since being selected in the third round of the 2017 draft. The Penn State product was inexplicably limited to situational duties during the Dirk Koetter era, but bloomed into a superstar under Bruce Arians in 2019. Godwin had 86 receptions for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns, and ranked no lower than fourth at wide receiver in yardage, touchdowns, catch rate (72%) and yards per target (11.1). He was a Pro Bowler and a second-team All-Pro. Tampa Bay's slot man has battled injuries this season, but still sits 13th in the NFL in receiving yards (562) during eight active weeks. Godwin's targets are down a bit with Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski added to the fold this season, but that shouldn't overshadow the fact that the 24-year-old is one of the NFL's best wide receivers. We'll see evidence of that in the form of dollar signs when contract-year Godwin becomes one of the league's highest-paid wide receivers in the spring. 16. A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans Turns 25: June 30, 2022 Signed through: 2022 Tennessee's run-heavy offensive scheme has made consistency a bit tricky, but Brown has looked the part of an elite No. 1 wide receiver when the ball has been thrown his way so far in his young career. The aforementioned DK Metcalf's teammate at Ole Miss, Brown actually had more receiving yardage (1,051) than Metcalf during their rookie season (both were selected in the second round). Brown used elite efficiency to get there, as he paced the NFL in both yards per target (12.5) and receiving yards after the catch (9.0). Brown's efficiency has regressed (as expected) in 2020, but it's still very good (his 7.7 RAC paces all wide receivers) and has been replaced by a boost in volume (7.2 targets per game compared to 4.9 in 2019) and a strong touchdown rate (eight on 65 targets). It's unlikely that we've come close to seeing Brown's ceiling, as the 23-year-old still has plenty of room for growth in terms of target volume. 17. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team Turns 25: April 15, 2021 Signed through: 2022 "McLaurin F1" was an absolute gem of a find by Washington in the third round of the 2019 draft. The speedy Ohio State product flashed with a healthy 58-919-7 receiving line in 14 games as a rookie and was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. He has taken his game to another level in 2020 despite Washington's merry-go-round at quarterback. McLaurin ranks seventh among wide receivers in routes (406), seventh in targets (100), fourth in receiving yards (963) and fourth in RAC (6.4). McLaurin has played 93% of Washington's offensive snaps while handling 27% of the team targets and 44% of the air yards this season. Despite the heavy usage and coverage by some of the league's top corners, McLaurin hasn't dropped a single pass. The 24-year-old is already one of the league's best and most consistent wide receivers. 18. Jessie Bates III, S, Cincinnati Bengals Turns 25: Feb. 26, 2022 Signed through: 2021 Bates is far from a household name, but the 2018 second-round pick has progressively developed into one of the game's most impactful safeties. Bates beat out seasoned veteran George Iloka for a starting job as a rookie, and went on to play 99% of Cincinnati's defensive snaps in each of his first two NFL seasons. The Wake Forest product has been on the field for 99% of the Bengals' defensive snaps during a 2020 campaign in which he has made the leap to stardom. Bates has registered 75 tackles (fifth most among safeties), three INTs (third) and 13 passes defensed (easily the most). Get to know the 23-year-old now, because there's a good shot we'll be talking about him as a first-time Pro Bowler and perhaps even an All-Pro later this season. 19. Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints Turns 25: May 20, 2021 Signed through: 2021 Lattimore has emerged as one of the league's toughest shadow corners since he was selected with the 11th pick of the 2017 draft. The Ohio State product made his impact felt immediately by racking up five interceptions (fifth most in the NFL) and 18 passes defensed (sixth) en route to winning the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Since he entered the league, Lattimore ranks ninth among cornerbacks in tackles (212), fifth in forced fumbles (five), seventh in passes defensed (48) and 11th in INTs (nine). Despite missing five games due to injury, the two-time Pro Bowler has been on the field for 81% of the Saints' defensive snaps since he was drafted and a large chunk of those snaps were spent traveling with superstar wide receivers. That included a murderers' row of assignments against DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper, Mike Evans (twice), DJ Chark, Allen Robinson, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, A.J. Brown, Curtis Samuel and Adam Thielen last season, and Mike Evans (twice) and Keenan Allen so far in 2020. It doesn't get much tougher than that. His numbers might be down a bit this season, but Lattimore is one of the best in the business. 20. Frank Ragnow, C, Detroit Lions Turns 25: May 17, 2021 Signed through: 2021* Despite all the attention paid to the fantasy football positions, offensive linemen are people, too, and Ragnow has quietly improved into one of the best. The 2018 first-round pick out of Arkansas spent his rookie season at left guard, but has been one of the league's top centers since converting to the pivot prior to 2019. PFF graded Ragnow as the league's sixth-best center in 2019 and he sits fourth so far in 2020. He ranked 17th among centers in pass block win rate last season and is up to 10th in 2020 (everyone ahead of him is at least two years older). The 24-year-old's first-round status will have him tied to Detroit through 2022, but his high-end play and versatility suggest it's only a matter of time until he's one of the league's top-paid centers. 21. Quinnen Williams, DT, New York Jets Turns 25: Dec. 5, 2022 Signed through: 2022* You might recall that Williams' name popped up on the trade rumor mill earlier this season. The Jets quickly put that speculation to bed because, well, it made no sense. The third overall pick of the 2019 draft has been a difference-maker since entering the NFL, and has taken his game to the next level this season. The Alabama product has racked up 41 tackles (which ranks third among interior defensive linemen), 5.0 sacks (sixth), 21 pass-rush wins (12th), two forced fumbles (second), 11 tackles for loss (second) and even three passes defensed (seventh). Williams' 15.6% pass rush win rate ranks him sixth among qualified interior defensive linemen. The Jets are struggling, but 22-year-old Williams has superstar upside and is a player around whom they can build their defense. 22. Brian Burns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers Turns 25: April 23, 2023 Signed through: 2022* Burns has had an interesting start to his career since being selected with the 16th overall pick of the 2019 draft. Immediately inserted into a significant role, Burns racked up 4.5 sacks during his first six NFL games. His snaps were inexplicably reduced after the first month of the season, however, and he was limited to 3.0 sacks after Week 6. Carolina changed coaching staffs during the 2020 offseason and that helped launch Burns into a role that has allowed him to play 76% of the snaps this season (a hefty number for any edge rusher). Burns has been a major force with 6.0 sacks (16th among edge rushers), 47 pass-rush wins (third), 18 hurries (fifth), 46 tackles (fourth), 8.5 tackles for loss (22nd) and three forced fumbles (second). Burns' 23.4% pass rush win rate ranks him sixth behind only T.J. Watt, Jerry Hughes, Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett and Matt Judon. How's that for good company? The 22-year-old is quietly blooming into one of the league's next superstar defenders. 23. Harold Landry III, EDGE, Tennessee Titans Turns 25: June 5, 2021 Signed through: 2021 Landry is yet another 2018 early-round draft pick who makes our list. The Boston College product was a situational player as a rookie, but has played an absurd 90% of the Titans' defensive snaps since the start of 2019 (that's a massive number for an edge defender). Landry broke out with 9.0 sacks (23rd in the NFL) and 56 pass-rush wins (11th) in 2019, and though his sacks are down slightly in 2020 (4.5), he's still disrupting quarterbacks with 40 pass-rush wins (ninth most). And Landry does more than just rush the passer. His 48 tackles this season are most among edge rushers, and he also ranks third behind only the Watt brothers with five passes defensed. Landry has quickly become one of the best and most reliable young edge rushers. 24. Carlton Davis, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Turns 25: Dec. 31, 2021 Signed through: 2021 It took a minute for Davis' career to get going, but the 2018 second-round pick has grown into one of the league's most effective cover corners over the past year. Davis really seemed to hit his stride when Tampa Bay converted him into a weekly shadow corner in the second half of 2019. After not shadowing at all during the first year and a half of his career, Davis allowed bare-minimum production while traveling with Julio Jones (twice), Kenny Golladay and DeAndre Hopkins after Week 11. He has picked up where he left off in 2020, showing well while shadowing Michael Thomas (twice), Keenan Allen, Allen Robinson, Davante Adams and DJ Moore. Davis has been in coverage on a league-high 422 plays this season and has four INTs (third most among CBs), 16 passes defensed (most) and 53 tackles (sixth). If we include each of the past two seasons, Davis easily paces all cornerbacks in passes defended (35) and sits seventh in tackles (112). Davis just suffered through the worst game of his career at the hands of Tyreek Hill, but that will likely prove just a bump in the road for the rising star. There aren't many cornerbacks who consistently shadow star No. 1 perimeter receivers, but Davis is one of the few who does and he does it well. 25. Orlando Brown Jr., OT, Baltimore Ravens Turns 25: May 2, 2021 Signed through: 2021 Anyone remember Brown's dreadful showing at the 2018 scouting combine? Brown's testing suggested he was slow, weak and lacking much agility or athleticism. What it seemed to miss, though, was that he's a really darn good football player. Brown fell to the third round of the draft, but it took the massive 6-foot-8, 345-pounder less than half a season to lock down Baltimore's right tackle job. That was the position he called home until earlier this season, when he was moved to reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson's blind side in place of injured superstar left tackle Ronnie Stanley in Week 8. Since being drafted, Brown's 91.0% pass block win rate is 10th best among 77 qualified tackles. Brown has already beaten the odds, and he and a healthy Stanley combine to form one of the league's best tackle duos. First man out Erik McCoy, C, New Orleans Saints Turns 25: Aug. 27, 2022 Signed through: 2022   McCoy has emerged as one of the league's top centers while snapping the ball to Drew Brees (and Taysom Hill) over the past year and a half. The 2019 second-round pick has handled all but eight of the Saints' center snaps since he was drafted. At a position dominated by veterans, PFF graded him as the league's fourth-best center, and he ranked 18th at the position in pass block win rate as a rookie. So far in 2010, his grade is down to 15th and he sits 22nd in pass block win rate, though note that he's the second-youngest player among the top 30 qualified centers. The Texas A&M product made the PFWA All-Rookie Team last season, and that figures to be the first of a long list of awards he'll receive in his career.
    • TRUTH!!!!   and we shouldnt be ok with just not hurting him..its the lowest bar you can have. At some point we have to start expecting more and people not meeting the expectation need to be fired. There is no excuse giving this guys seasons...i mean it was obvious from day one that he was hurting the Sam, hell the whole damn team.
    • Yeah, getting those two first round picks and a third for an always hurt safety who isn't making a difference on his team. You're perspective is getting moronic. 
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