Unlike most major sports leagues in the United States, the NFL doesn’t welcome young players. For multiple reasons, mostly health-related, the players have to endure several years in college, rather than going through a one-and-done year like the NBA or even signing from overseas like in MLB.
That makes it quite tough to make an impact as a young player when you turn pro. Unless you’re a potential franchise quarterback or maybe a highly-ranked receiver, you’re not likely to get many chances early on in your career.
Then again, there’s a handful of superstars that is talented enough to dominate in the same pros right out of the gate. That’s why today, we’ll honor them by talking about the top 5 best players 25 and under ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
Top NFL Players 25 And Under
Honorable Mentions: Lamar Jackson, Jaire Alexander, Nick Bosa, Chase Young, Saquon Barkley
5. Quenton Nelson
While offensive linesmen may not exactly be the most popular players around the league, there’s a reason why they’re taking them so high in the draft, and Quenton Nelson is already elite at protecting the quarterback.
Nelson is a human force of nature that just won’t allow sacks or hurries, regardless of whoever he’s facing. He’s disciplined and rarely makes any kind of mistakes, and it’s only going to get better as the years go by.
4. Myles Garrett
Myles Garrett earned a bit of a tough reputation around the league due to his unfortunate incident with Mason Rudolph but he did a great job of redeeming himself last year. Now, he’s already considered one of the top-tier defenders in the game.
Garrett is an elite pass-rusher. He’s going to put a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterback thanks to his strange combination of strength, size, athleticism, and footwork. Not even the savviest veterans can block him.
3. Josh Allen
Plenty of people were skeptical of Josh Allen’s ability to take a step forward last season and he clearly proved his doubters wrong. He had an MVP-caliber year, improved his decision-making, and looks poised to dominate the AFC East for years to come.
Even though the Buffalo Bills were one-dimensional due to their lack of running game, Allen still managed to leave defenders in awe after every single snap. He’s got the strongest arm in the league and won’t hesitate to hurt you with his feet as well.
2. Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey is coming off a subpar season due to multiple injuries but he’s still the best running back in the league. Yeah, I went there. His ability to pile up yards in both the air and the ground makes him an almost unprecedented weapon for the Carolina Panthers.
McCaffrey is as smooth as he is strong. He can shake off tackles with his impressive lateral movements and he’s not easy to tackle on the open field either. Hopefully, he’ll bounce back in a big way next season.
1. Patrick Mahomes
There aren’t many things we could say about Patrick Mahomes that we hadn’t said before. He has a strong shot at being at least a top-3 quarterback ever once it’s all said and done considering the résumé he’s put together until his 25-year-old season.
Mahomes is on a whole different level to the rest of the league. He can throw on the run, on the side, he can throw no-look passes, pile up yards on the ground, connect from 60+ yards or throw a smooth dime between three linebackers. There’s literally nothing he can’t do on the gridiron.