||05-25-2005 01:02 PM
All "under 25" team for offense
Brandt's all under-25 team: offense
By Gil Brandt
NFL.com Senior Analyst
(May 24, 2005) -- Considering the list of NFL veterans who have retired over the past two years, an alarmist might fret over the talent level dipping. After all, future Hall of Famers like Emmitt Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Bruce Smith, Darrell Green and Rod Woodson have all moved on to retirement. Thankfully, that's not the case as there has been an infusion of skilled young players keeping the NFL moving forward.
So who are the players that are the best of the best of the youngsters? Often times I am asked who I think the best players are for the future of the game, and have a hard time naming a few. I have to name a whole team, and even that is pretty difficult. Considering all the great young men that have entered the NFL, it's a daunting task to pick the best of them.
Let's start with the age limit: Anyone born before Jan. 1, 1980 is ineligible (sorry, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Antwaan Randle El and Deion Branch). This ensures that everyone on the team will be 25 years of age or under when the 2005 season starts.
Also, because it's taking so long to decide who makes the team and who doesn't, we're splitting the roster into two parts. The offense will be announced now; the defense will be announced later.
We also discovered a lot of young talent that was either picked on the second day of the draft or went undrafted. We thought we could come up with a team of late-picked or non-picked players under 25 years of age, and we have that list here.
Finally, after making the offensive unit, we realize we left a lot of names out. Guys like Jeremy Shockey, Jason Witten, Todd Heap and Dallas Clark all are young, noteworthy players capable of playing at a high level -- and those are just the tight ends! If a player you'd expect to see didn't make the team, it doesn't mean they're not good. It probably just means I didn't have room for them on the roster.
Here is the 2005 all-under 25 offense:
WR Andre Johnson Houston July 11, 1981
WR Michael Clayton Tampa Bay Oct. 13, 1982
WR Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Aug. 31, 1983
TE Antonio Gates San Diego June 18, 1980
OT Jordan Gross Carolina July 20, 1980
OT Kevin Shaffer Atlanta March 2, 1980
OG Travelle Wharton Carolina May 19, 1981
OG Montrae Holland New Orleans May 21, 1980
C Nick Hardwick San Diego Sept. 2, 1981
QB Michael Vick Atlanta June 26, 1980
RB Kevin Jones Detroit Aug. 21, 1982
FB B.J. Askew N.Y. Jets Aug. 19, 1980
LS Don Muhlbach Detroit Aug. 17, 1981
KR Terrence McGee Buffalo Oct. 14, 1980
PR Eddie Drummond Detroit April 12, 1980
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ There were 13 players on opening-week rosters who were 21 or younger. The youngest was Randy Starks of Tennessee, who just turned 21 last December. The second youngest was Atlanta's DeAngelo Hall, who turned 21 on Nov. 19, 2004.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Two 2005 draft choices have signed contracts already. They are Junius Costin, a fifth-round pick of the Packers, and Chris Kemoeatu, a sixth-round pick of the Steelers. That's a good sign that those guys are focused on football.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Colleges with the most players likely to be drafted in 2006: Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. They could all see eight or more players get taken. Set your TiVos for college football games this fall now.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ When the Packers selected Kurt Campbell of Albany in the seventh round, it marked the first time any player from that school was taken in the NFL draft.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ The most sought after undrafted free agent this year was Chris McKenzie of Arizona State. He signed with the Texans after displaying a 4.34 in the 40-yard dash, a 45-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot-4 long jump at a private workout. Maybe he'll be on our undrafted team someday.
All "under 25" unheralded team offense:
Brandt's all under-25 unheralded team
By Gil Brandt
NFL.com Senior Analyst
(May 24, 2005) -- While creating my all under-25 team, I came across several very good prospects who not only were 25 years old or younger, but weren't taken in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. These were players who may not have been good enough for the all-under 25 team, but deserved some kudos because they not only made the league after being selected a little later than they would have liked, but also played at a high level.
So we bring you the all under-25 unheralded team. None of these players were born before Jan. 1, 1980 and all have made outstanding contributions to their teams.
One note: Several members of the all under-25 team were either second-day picks or undrafted rookies. Because they were named to the main team, they are ineligible for this team. That's why you're not seeing Montrae Holland or Terrence McGee (Round 4), Kevin Shaffer (Round 7) and Eddie Drummond, Antonio Gates and Don Muhlbach (undrafted) not on this list.
WR David Givens New England Aug. 16, 1980
WR Doug Gabriel Oakland Aug. 27, 1980
WR Shaun McDonald St. Louis June 13, 1981
TE Courtney Anderson Oakland Nov. 19, 1980
OT Adam Goldberg Minnesota Aug. 12, 1980
OT David Diehl N.Y. Giants Sept. 15, 1980
OT Shane Olivea San Diego Oct. 9, 1981
OG Jacob Bell Tennessee March 2, 1981
OG Brandon Moore N.Y. Jets June 3, 1980
OG Reggie Wells Arizona Nov. 3, 1980
OG Enoch DeMar Cleveland Sept. 7, 1980
C Alex Stepanovich Arizona Sept. 25, 1981
RB Domanick Davis Houston Oct. 1, 1980
RB Mewelde Moore Minnesota July 24, 1982
LS Cullen Loeffler Minnesota Jan. 27, 1981
KR Wes Welker Miami March 1, 1981