Not surprisingly, youth is being served in the NFL these days. And there’s quite a list of performers making an impact before their 25th birthday.
Obviously, there are some serious restrictions when it comes to this endeavor. It’s a look at the 25 best players who have yet to celebrate their 25th birthday. Of course, there are no member of the 2019 NFL rookie class because those performers have yet to take the field for a regular-season contest.
Each of these players have already made a strong impression in a very short time. You may notice that one position seems to have earned more attention than some others, while there is only one offensive lineman listed below.
Of course, this piece could have an entirely new look to it by the end of the 2019 season. And keep an eye out for an extra name or many which also deserved a mention. But for now, it is these 25 players stand out the most despite their limited playing time in the NFL to date.
Note: All players were under 25 years old as of May 30, 2019.
25. CB Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns
A year ago, Cleveland Browns’ general manager John Dorsey used the first overall pick on Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Baker Mayfield. The team also owned the No. 4 selection and many expected the talent evaluator to add pass-rusher Bradley Chubb as a compliment to emerging Myles Garrett.
Think again. Dorsey surprised more than a few people by choosing Ohio State University cornerback Denzel Ward. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound performer wasted little time proving his worth when he intercepted Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice in Week 1. By season’s end, the opportunistic pro played in 13 games and made a dozen starts. He finished with 53 tackles and a team-high 11 passes defensed. Ward stole a total of three passes and recovered a pair of fumbles, totaling five of Cleveland’s 31 takeaways.
The 22-year-old former Buckeye proved to be quite the ball hawk, something the Browns desperately after forcing just 13 turnovers in 2018.