Top 15 NFL Players Under 25

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Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

15. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay

After a slow start to the year, Lacy broke out in week 3 and 4 against Baltimore and Detroit. He did just enough down the stretch to help his team reach the playoffs. He had a terrific game against the Cowboys, a game that he helped Green Bay win – a win that turned out to be necessary to the Packers’ playoff berth. If the team was anything worse than 8-7-1, it would not have made the playoffs. Lacy rushed for over 1,100 yards, leading all rookies, and proved his worth during the time that Aaron Rodgers was out.

14. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego

I’m putting Allen ahead of Lacy because he was pretty much the only Chargers’ receiver who made a significant impact last season, while Lacy’s big games only came against porous run defenses. For a third round pick, that’s not bad at all. Allen was one of the reasons for Philip Rivers’ bounce-back season; he easily created space and gave Rivers an easy target to throw to. If Malcolm Floyd comes back next year, he’ll take some of the pressure off Allen and draw some double-teams, which would lead to Allen having a more prolific season than he did last year.

13. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis

Hilton has essentially been Andrew Luck’s security blanket for the last two years. When Reggie Wayne Went down in 2013, Hilton picked up the slack and became Luck’s favorite target for the last ten games. Hilton is small, but his speed is what sets him apart from other receivers. His breakout game against the Texans showed how polished his routes are and how easy he makes getting open look. If Reggie Wayne isn’t healthy to start the year, expect Hilton to be number one on the depth chart in front of Hakeem Nicks.

12. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo

Alonso burst onto the scene as a rookie in Buffalo. He was easily the best rookie linebacker last season (better than the four linebackers drafted ahead of him — Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Manti Te’o, and Kevin Minter). He was third in the league in tackles with 159, and he had four interceptions to go along with that. I’m not sure how he wasn’t selected to the Pro Bowl in the first place.

11. Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Cincinnati

After off-field issues caused Burfict to be undrafted, he’s turned things around in the NFL. He led the league in tackling last year with 171 combined tackles. He picked up a lot of slack in the second half of the season when Geno Atkins went down with an ACL tear. I thought he should’ve been a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He’ll be in line for a massive contract extension next offseason, maybe even later this offseason.

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Tags: Arizona Cardinals Baltimore Ravens Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers Indianapolis Colts NFL San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers St. Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • trinity

    Lol I hate that you wasted a spot on a kicker, but nice list :)

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      Haha. Tucker deserves that spot though, IMO.

      • trinity

        I don’t pay much attention to kickers unless they screw up lol, so I’ll take your word for it :). I bet tyrann Mathieu would have made the list if he hadn’t gotten hurt. He was my pick for DROY before he went down.

  • Folt

    I agree it’s a good list. I like the edition of a kicker. In my opnion they are second most important player on team after quarterback.

  • boldness

    No Giovanni benard ? Aj green hmm suspect list ijs

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      Bernard just didn’t get enough touches last season. If he takes over as Cincy’s #1 this year and does well, he should be here next year. A.J. Green turns 26 in a couple months.

  • Terry Moore

    No Tannehill???

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      He actually turns 26 in two months.

  • David

    HEY
    HEY GUYS
    KEENAN ALLEN IS A THING
    JUST IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING
    K THANKS BYE

  • kyle

    No zac stacy? He was way better then lacy and yet lacy gets all the credit. People forget lacy only had a few hundred more yards then stacy and stacy only played 11 games vs lacy played 16. Stacy could have easily had more yards then lacy if he would have started all 16 game

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      Lacy only had 34 more carries (not really a five-game difference — average of 6.8 carries per game if you want to look at it that way), but had 205 more yards. While he did start all 16 games, he only had 1 carry in one of those because of injury.

  • kyle

    And what about Alec Ogletree ?

  • john griffin

    How does dez bryant not make the list.

    • Rishi Pochiraju

      Because he’s 25 years old

  • veazy

    Nice list. Looking at these comments, you can see that most people don’t realize there are 31 other teams in the NFL, apart from their favorite team.

  • Bishop

    Dontari Poe

  • betoldtruth

    Keenan Allen is far better than Justin tucker