NFL Top 25 Under 25: Ranking best players 24 years old or younger

Illustration by ESPN

Drafting young talent who can be immediate stars gives any NFL team a big advantage, and some of the best players in the league today are under the age of 25. We've seen a 23-year-old post back-to-back seasons with at least 12 sacks and another record three straight years of 1,200-plus receiving yards. A 24-year-old is currently in the top five for passing yardage for the second straight year, and another is leading the NFL in Total QBR. Players are coming right out of the gate and making big impacts in the pros.

So we asked NFL and NFL draft analysts Matt Bowen, Matt Miller and Jordan Reid to work together to compile a list of the top 25 players in the NFL currently under the age of 25. To qualify, players needed to be 24 years old or younger on Nov. 29, 2022. Who tops the list was easy -- a certain second-year defender was the unanimous No. 1 across all three lists -- but difficult decisions were made in the latter parts of the list.

Let's jump into our top 25, but we also took a quick look at 10 more players who just missed the list and allowed each of our three voters to make the case for a player they felt probably should have been recognized in our ranking.

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Top 25 | Honorable mentions | Snubs

1. Micah Parsons, DE/LB, Dallas Cowboys

Age: 23

A strong argument could be made that Parsons is the top defensive player in the game, regardless of age. Parsons is a menace off of the edge, after converting from middle linebacker to defensive end for Dallas. His unique explosiveness, bend and ball pursuit have turned him into a franchise cornerstone for the Cowboys. He's only the third player since 1982 (when sacks became an official stat) to record at least 12 sacks in each of his first two seasons, joining Reggie White and Aldon Smith. And his 27.9% pass rush win rate leads all players since entering the league. -- Reid