As this Memorial Day Weekend rolls on, we enjoy time with family, lots of food and looking around for interesting topics or lists about football. And, in this case, an intriguing one popped up Sunday about the “Top 25 NFL players under the age of 25.”
This list was compiled by CBSsports.com writer Sean Wagner-McGough and was set forth with some interesting criteria:
Obviously the players had to be under the age of 25, however, they could not be rookies who have yet to set foot on an NFL field.
Further, his list was based on not only career accomplishment, but his projection of what the player could still become
And then, is “positional value ranking.” In other words, how important is that player and his role to his team’s success?
And finally, Wagner admitted, right away, that once you start with the criteria trying to work down from 50 to 25, it’s very difficult.
With that in mind we at F.F.I. found it interesting that the two Jaguars made the list with linebacker Myles Jack at #25 and is expected to have a bigger role, now that Telvin Smith appears to be ready to sit out the entire season for whatever personal problems that he’s having.
It’s further not surprising that Jalen Ramsey is also on the CBSsports.com list coming in at #8. Ramsey is regarded as one of the best man-to-man cover corners in football, despite his headaches off the field.
And that’s it for state NFL players under 25.
So, if you were looking for a Buccaneer or a Dolphins on that list, they didn’t make it.
Now, it should be pointed out that both Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and star receiver Mike Evans are already 25 years old and therefore, by the criteria, not eligible for consideration. Evans, especially would be a top 10 player on any such of these lists.
One of his receiving mates that should get more consideration is outstanding Bucs tight end and former number 1 pick, O.J. Howard. Howard is about to enter his third season and has already shown himself to be a tremendous pass-catching weapon downfield at his humongous size. He has a 16.6 yards per catch average with 11 touchdowns in 24 games of two seasons cut short by injury.
As for the Dolphins, they are obviously greatly devoid of talent at most positions and trying to reload. However, if you were wondering why Pro Bowl DB Xavien Howard is not included on Wagner-McGough’s list? It’s because, he’s already also 25 years old.
Probably, the Dolphins other most logical choice would be left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who they took in the top 10 of the 2016 draft. He is coming into his own as an offensive lineman (especially with pass blocking) and probably is the best candidate under the CBSsports.com criteria
It’s not surprising the Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the list after the amazing season he had a year ago. The next two on the list or Chargers defensive end, Joey Bosa and likewise, Browns defensive end, Myles Garrett. Both of whom are more based on their projection for the future and their positional value related to other players under the criteria than what they’ve done so far.
The CBSSports.com Top 5 is rounded out by Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson and then, Browns QB Baker Mayfield.
Jags coach Marrone acknowledged Wednesday he’s in jeopardy
As the Jaguars 2019 season has spiraled downward, their head coach acknowledged Wednesday that there are likely changes coming in North Florida.
Head Coach Doug Marrone meets the media prior to today's practice. https://t.co/Ks19PcB0te
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) December 11, 2019
“We’re all fighting for our jobs. When you look at it from that standpoint, each person has to make their own decision on how they handle those things….It’s a constant microscope in this league, but I think it gets magnified when you are not winning football games,” Marrone said plainly.
It’s no secret that the Jaguars are plummeting. Sunday they were embarrassed again at home, this time by the L.A. Chargers 45 – 10. That was the fifth consecutive decisive loss (by at least 17 points) for a team that was once 4 – 4 and in the conversation are the AFC Wildcard picture.
Yes, there are injuries including the team losing defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and recently linebacker Myles Jack to season-ending IR. The same on offense where WR Marqise Lee never got healthy and made contributions this year. He, too is back on injured reserve.
Further, the team also had to deal with the constant off field distraction and then decided to trade away arguably their best player, defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the LA Rams. Granted, Ramsey wanted out and was trying not to play while the trade was being consummated. Still, this missed him on the field and it was an issue.
Then, there’s the mess on offense, where the Jags offensive line is in shambles and Marrone had to bench high-priced free agent quarterback Nick Foles before last week’s game. That’s because of his ineffective play and lack of mobility to play behind their poor line.
Rookie Gardner Minshew, who had won four games earlier this year, didn’t do much with only 162 yards in the air and a late third-quarter touchdown that only cut the lead to 31 – 10 in the loss Sunday.
Further, running back Leonard Fournette has now been neutralized by the lack of good line play and the inability to get the passing game going. Fournette went from having a good start to the season that included three 100-yard or more games out of four in late September and October, to having five of his last six games where he has run for 50 yards or less.
So, everywhere you look, the Jags are struggling and losing, and owner Shad Khan is expected to make wholesale changes at the end of the year.
But for now, Jacksonville must go out to Oakland this week and try not to be further embarrassed there.
Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR
The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.
Source: #Jaguars LB Myles Jack (knee) is going on Injured Reserve today. A hit to the Jacksonville defense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2019
Jack missed Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a knee injury that was believed to be a sprain suffered in the loss to the Colts two weeks ago. However, the move to IR indicates it may be more serious.
The Jaguars season has unraveled over the course of the last month with injuries to their defense and the team trading away perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Jacksonville had already put DT Marcel Dareus on IR, All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell has been trying to battle through a bad back and DB Tony Harrison has still not been cleared with a concussion.
Coach Doug Marrone has expressed the last two weeks that it has been a struggle for his defense with all of the injuries mounting late in the year.
As for Jack, he had settled in the middle linebacker roll after Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May.
Jack has been solid, but not spectacular, in the middle of the defense registering 7 or more tackles in five games this season. However he hasn’t forced a fumble, has only one interception and half of a sack. Jack also has just three tackles-for-loss at a position that often dictates much more output than that.
The former second-round pick out of UCLA had question marks about his knee coming out of college, when the Jaguars took him in the 2016 draft. However, he has answered critics on his durability by being active for all 59 games of his career up until last week.
Jacksonville will use veteran Donald Payne at middle linebacker for now. Payne played significantly last week against the Buccaneers and has been on and off of Jacksonville roster this season.