Folks, we have almost made it. The football gods are prepared to bless us with another season of NFL football in mere weeks. It’s been so long since we have enjoyed the Cleveland Browns’ lovable incompetence, Odell Beckham Jr.’s ridiculous hands and even more ridiculous feud with Josh Norman, Tom Brady punching Father Time in the face and the Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl and we’re nearly there.
The NFL as of right now is chock full of bright youngsters, still cashing in on the wicked 2014 and 2015 drafts which produced a combined 33 Pro Bowlers up to now. So folks, you read the title. Before training camps get rolling and players get older, we’re laying out the All-Under 24 team for the NFL.
But first, a couple of ground rules. We will be constructing an entire starting lineup of players 24 years and younger, complete with special teams. Some positions will have two selections. All of these players will have enjoyed success in the past and look to be top players in the league one day or already are. There will be no rookies or players who have yet to play a down in the league, because there is no guarantee any of those players will be good.
So without further adieu, let’s hop to it.
Eduardo Monk Jr: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay
Famous Jameis is already a top ten quarterback and he’s only played two seasons. He brought in the 2015 Rookie of the Year and was a Pro Bowler the very next season. He’s the first quarterback in history to start his career with two straight 4,000 yard seasons. He’s a prototypical franchise cornerstone and the only injury stands in his way of being an all-time great quarterback.
Joseph Beaudet: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay
There is no better choice at this spot. Dak Prescott, nope. Marcus Mariota, maybe if you’re feeling frisky on a Tuesday night. But Winston is far and away the best under-24 QB there is in the NFL. Back-to-back 4000+ passing yard seasons for Jameis to start off his career is pretty damn good. He’s both mobile and a pocket passer, and should bring success to Tampa Bay once he has enough talent around him
Eduardo Monk Jr: Jordan Howard, Chicago
Howard was a Pro Bowler in his rookie season for in only 13 games, he was second in the league in rushing yards with 1313 yards to his name. He had just about the greatest rookie runningback season in Bears history. And all without an All-Pro offensive line like Ezekiel Elliott.
Joseph Beaudet: Ezekiel Elliott
Zeke was also a Pro Bowler in his rookie year, and led the league in rushing with 1631 yards to his name. I’m just making fun of Eduardo right now, but that’s neither here nor there. Sure, anyone can run behind a really good offensive line, but not everyone can get 1600 yards behind it. And I genuinely believe that if you take Elliott anywhere else, he performs just as well, even behind a terrible line.
Wide Receiver (2)
Eduardo Monk Jr: Odell Beckham Jr, New York Giants; Mike Evans, Tampa Bay
I don’t even think I need to argue Odell Beckham Jr.’s spot on this list. He is the definition of a human highlight reel with some of the best hands we have ever seen. He owns rookie and sophomore record after rookie and sophomore record. Few receivers have had the impact on the entire league at the age he is at.
For Evans, he has bloomed into a top 5 receiver in the entire league and arguably the most physically dominant. He was second team All-Pro as well as a Pro Bowler this past season while racking up 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns. He and QB Jameis Winston have proven to be one of the best quarterback-receiver tandems in the league already.
Joseph Beaudet: Odell Beckham Jr, New York Giants; Mike Evans, Tampa Bay
There is no discrepancy on who the two best WR’s are under, or at, 24. Both are physically imposing wide receivers with phenomenal hands. Odell, as much as I don’t like him, there is no denying he’s a top five receiver in the league right now. The same goes for Evans, though I like him a lot. In due time though, we will see if Odell is QB-made, or if he truly is one of the best WR’s the league has to offer
Eduardo Monk Jr: Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
Hunter Henry is a borderline elite tight end after only a single season in the league. In 10 games he started, he only caught 36 passes. Those 36 passes resulted in 478 yards and 8 touchdowns, which is the fifth most of all time for a rookie tight end. With a season under his belt and have proven himself valuable, this season is going to be a monster one for the 22-year-old.
Joseph Beaudet: Eric Ebron, Detroit
Sure, I may be a little biased here, but Ebron has gotten better every year of his career. Now Detroit’s only pass-catching threat at TE, and the loss of Anquan Boldin, Ebron is set for a career year. A lot of stick from fans comes with Ebron’s drop numbers, while they are higher than you’d like, he’s still young and better hands will come with time. Just to convince you even more that he’s the best tight end age 24, or under, the guy ranked eighth in the league among tight ends in receiving yards despite playing just 13 games. To make things EVEN better, he was one of the more efficient receivers in terms of targets/reception.
Offensive Tackle (2)
Eduardo Monk Jr: Jack Conklin, Tennessee; Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore
Jack Conklin is a first team All-Pro tackle and he’s only 22. He is an absolute beast and can already be considered the best tackle in the entire league.
Ronnie Stanley hasn’t broken out and taken the league by storm just yet, but starting 12 games and being the top rated tackle on Pro Football Focus over the last 5 weeks of the season is more than enough to be named to this list.
Joseph Beaudet: Jack Conklin, Tennessee; Taylor Decker, Detroit
Conklin and Decker are far and away the best under-24 tackles the league has to offer. Both had very, very impressive rookie seasons. Hell, both are already among the league’s better tackles, and I think it’s hard to argue against that.
Also never trust Pro Football Focus grades, they’re complete bogus.
Offensive Guard (2)
Eduardo Monk Jr: Laremy Tunsil, Miami; Trai Turner, Carolina
Tunsil, coming into this league, was projected to be the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft but after a video of him in a gas mask smoking weed was released to the public minutes before the draft, he fell down to the 13th and into the Miami Dolphins lap. But what a steal he has been. He was a member of the PFWA All-Rookie team and has developed into a sturdy guard in the league.
Turner is a two-time Pro Bowler and he has only played three seasons in the league. He has excelled in the both the pass and run game while anchoring the Panthers offensive line. He has the tools to develop into a consistent member of the All-Pro team real soon.
Joseph Beaudet: Laremy Tunsil, Miami; Trai Turner, Carolina
I literally know nothing about these guys, so just read Eduardo’s for my explanation to I guess
Eduardo Monk Jr: Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis
Kelly started all 16 games for the Colts in his rookie year and is already a rock solid center.
Joseph Beaudet: Cody Whitehair, Chicago
I’m breaking my own rules, but who cares? The guy turned 25 three days ago, fight me. Whitehair made the Pro Bowl as a first year starter. He’s a versatile lineman, and can play quite literally anywhere on that Chicago offensive line, but center is where he made the Pro Bowl, and where I see him spending a majority of his career.
Eduardo Monk Jr: Sheldon Rankins, New Orleans
Though breaking his fibula in practice before his rookie season even started, Rankins roared back in the nine games he played, where he pulled off 4 sacks, 20 tackles, and a forced fumble. He will be able to flaunt his wicked athleticism as a big man a whole lot more this hopefully injury-less season.
Joseph Beaudet: Leonard Williams, New York Jets
Williams is a beast of a man. The guy is 6’5 and roughly 300 pounds. He’s a freak athlete though, and among the best in the business when it comes to getting to the quarterback. Despite playing nose tackle for the Jets, Williams has managed to collect 10 sacks in just two seasons.
Defensive End (2)
Eduardo Monk Jr: Jadeveon Clowney, Houston; Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers
Clowney had a rough start to his career, with injuries forcing many to consider him a bust after going first overall to the Texans. But with a full season under his belt, we finally got to see just how good this kid can be. He landed 6 sacks and 16 tackles for a loss while winding up on the Second Team All-Pro squad.
Joey Bosa, despite throwing a hissy fit over contract disputes before the season started and missing the first four games of the season, is ultimately one of the best defensive youngsters in the league. He brought in Defensive Rookie of the Year honors en route to a 10.5 sack season after most viewed his current production levels as his ceiling before he was even drafted.
Joseph Beaudet: Jadeveon Clowney, Houston; Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers
I’m just simply too lazy to make you read about these two again. So, just enjoy Eduardo’s explanation again.
Middle Linebacker (2)
Eduardo Monk Jr: Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh; Denzel Perryman, Los Angeles Chargers
Ryan Shazier headlines the elite Pittsburgh linebacking squad already. He was a Pro Bowler in his third season with 87 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Shazier has racked up the career highlights, best shown in the time he was the one who stripped the ball from Jeremy Hill with 1:36 left in the game and lead to the game-winning field goal in their 2016 AFC wild-card game against the Bengals.
Perryman, in his third season, brought in 73 tackles and 2.0 sacks with the Chargers. Though no major honors in the NFL just yet, he’s primed for a breakout year with all the tools to be a top middle linebacker in this league.
Joseph Beaudet: Deion Jones, Atlanta; Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh
Deion Jones helped lead the Falcons defense to the Super Bowl, and eventually blowing a 25-point lead to the Patriots. No matter, he still played a major role in getting them there. Ryan Shazier is easily among the league’s best linebackers, and it shows with his tackle numbers. Shazier is also one of the faster linebackers in the league
Outside Linebacker (2):
Eduardo Monk Jr: Leonard Floyd, Chicago; Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh
Floyd cracked the top three in the rookie sack leaders in only 12 games this season with the Bears. He was a member of the PFWA All-Rookie team and has all the speed and explosiveness necessary to be a great pass rusher in the NFL.
The second Steelers linebacker on this team is the supreme pass rusher Dupree. In the only four games he started this past season, he had a wicked 4.5 sacks and 19 tackles. Remember that’s over the course of four games. His massive nature and play style gives him the chance to be a very good outside linebacker if he can avoid the injury bug.
Joseph Beaudet: Shane Ray, Denver; Leonard Floyd, Chicago
Ray was held back in Denver by DeMarcus Ware, but after starting 8 games this past season, Ray did not disappoint. In fact, he was far from it. Recording 8 sacks and 33 tackles in 16 games. Leonard Floyd had a phenomenal rookie year, finishing in the top three for rookie sacks despite playing just 12 games
Eduardo Monk Jr: Marcus Peters, Kansas City; Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville
Peters is already a top three cornerback in the league, with a First Team and Second Team All-Pro appearances under his belt in only his first two seasons. He is a top tier ball hawking corner who is going to dominate this league for years to come.
Ramsey is still a little green but has shown oodles of promise in his rookie year. He cracked the PFWA All-Rookie team with two picks and 65 tackles in his first season. With a little more development, there’s little doubt Ramsey can be great.
Joseph Beaudet: Marcus Peters, Kansas City; Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville
Again, I’m not interested in wasting your time with writing the same stuff about the same players
Eduardo Monk Jr: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay; Landon Collins, New York Giants
Ha-Ha broke out this past season, with 5 interceptions and 80 tackles en route to a Second Team All-Pro appearance. Not to mention he already has 4.5 sacks in his career at the safety position. He’s a bruising defensive back who can already be considered an elite player.
Collins is a Pro Bowler in only his second season. He racked up 5 picks and 4 sacks in this season alone. He will be the anchor for the Giants top notch defensive back corps for years to come.
Joseph Beaudet: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay; Landon Collins, New York Giants
You know the drill.
Eduardo Monk Jr: Roberto Aguayo, Tampa Bay
So apparently Aguayo is the only starting kicker under 24, so here he is. The second round pick hit a dismal 71% of his field goals and looks to be a major bust already. But he’s the only option for this spot so he makes it anyway.
Joseph Beaudet: Is not even going to waste his time writing about Roberto Aguayo
Eduardo Monk Jr: Bradley Pinion, San Francisco
Pinion was second in the league this past season in punt yards. That’s really all this pick has to it.
Joseph Beaudet: Thinks it’s silly to write about punters
Eduardo Monk Jr: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
Hill is an electrifying player whose season was headlined by a 95 punt return for a touchdown. He made the Pro Bowl as a returner and his elite skills were on full display all season.
Joseph Beaudet: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
Hey, you know the drill