Youngest Players in the NFL

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Every NFL team is made up of football players of many ages, from aspiring rookies to veterans in the midst of a legendary career. Each spring, the NFL draft adds over 250 hopeful players spread among 32 teams, many of which find themselves with a contract and a promising career. Of course, most rookies are youngsters. Among the NFL, who are the youngest players right now? Let’s find out.

Who is the youngest player in the NFL

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First, we’ll head up to the AFC North and the Pittsburgh Steelers to find the youngest player in the league – Juju Smith-Schuster, drafted in the second round (No. 62 overall) in 2017. He’s followed by Marcus Williams, drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2017 (No. 42 overall). Smith-Schuster has seen a little more game time than Williams and is already chasing history as a millennial football superstar.

As an Indianapolis Colts cornerback, Quincy Wilson is the third youngest NFL player. He was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft (No. 46 overall). Fourth is Carolina Panthers wide receiver, Curtis Samuel who was drafted No. 40 overall in 2017. Cincinnati drafted the fifth youngest NFL player, running back Joe Mixon, 48th overall in 2017, and the Browns drafted the sixth youngest player, David Njoku, 29th overall.

The seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th youngest players came in differing rounds in the 2017 draft, but they are all relative newbies in the NFL as they work their way up the depth charts.

Young Pro Bowlers

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In 2016, the youngest player on each respective conference’s Pro Bowl team was quite young indeed. For the NFC, the youngest player was insta-star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who barreled his way through opposing teams’ defensive lines all the way to the rushing title in 2016 during his phenomenal rookie year.

On the AFC side, the youngest player in the 2016 Pro Bowl was Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams. In his second season that year, Williams racked up seven sacks, 25 quarterback hits, 68 tackles, and 11 tackles for a loss. Oh, and he also earned the Jets MVP award.

Fresh-Faced Rookies, Team by Team

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Let’s step back and look at the youngest players team by team.

There are a couple of rookies on this list waiting for their debut, including Patrick Mahomes II, the youngest player on the Kansas City Chiefs roster, and although he has yet to play a snap in the regular season, he was also a high draft select (No. 10 overall) and is waiting in the wings for his future to unfold.   

The most electric rookie in the NFL right now isn’t on this list, but Kareem Hunt, also on the KC roster, is worth a mention. He leads the NFL in rushing yards (halfway to 1,000 in just four games) and has far outpaced any pre-draft expectations. Another rookie phenom running back worth mentioning is Leonard Fournette, who’s also getting big accolades out of Jacksonville.

Not all of the youngest players on each team are rookies, though – for example, defensive end Joey Bosa, age 22, is the youngest player on the Los Angeles Chargers roster, but he’s in his second season of blowing up blocks and collapsing the pocket. Bosa was a high draft pick in 2016 (3nd overall) and had 10 and a half sacks his debut season (he was also named Defensive Rookie of the Year).

A Promising Future

All of the NFL’s youngest players are enjoying the possibility of an amazing future. Whether they have outstanding rookie seasons or are saving their career seasons for a few years down the road, they have a lot to look forward to.

No matter which NFL team you’re rooting for (or which draft pick you’ve been following since his college playing days), you can find all the gear you need for this glorious fall season of football at Fanatics.com.

Top 10 Youngest Player in the NFL

  1. Juju Smith-Schuster (20) – Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Marcus Williams (21) – New Orleans Saints
  3. Quincy Wilson (21) – Indianapolis Colts
  4. Curtis Samuel (21) – Carolina Panthers
  5. Joe Mixon (21) – Cincinnai Bengals
  6. David Njoku (21) – Cleveland Browns
  7. Marlon Humphrey (21) – Baltimore Ravens
  8. Derek Barnett (21) – Philadelphia Eagles
  9. Malik McDowell (21) – Seattle Seahawks
  10. D’onta Foreman (21) Houston Texans

Sources

The Top 50 Best-Selling NFL Player Jerseys 2016 season

The 2016 NFL season saw plenty of rookies breaking out and young players emerging into the forefront, but it takes a lot more than one big performance to become a top jersey seller throughout an entire calendar year. The NFL is dominated by household names who have built their brand over years of stellar play, but 2016 represented a changing of the guard with a number of rookies ranking at the top of the NFL’s top 50 best-selling player jerseys of 2016. (Top 50 best selling NFL player jerseys is based on sales data of Fanatics Inc across NFLshop, Fanatics & Fansedge for the period of July 2016 – January 2017). See the best-selling jerseys in the NFL updated every month on NFL shop.

  1. Ezekiel Elliott; (Dallas Cowboys) There were some chuckles around the league from folks who thought the Dallas Cowboys reached when drafting Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in the 2016 draft. It’s the Cowboys who are laughing now after Elliott staked his claim as not only the NFL’s best back but the league’s top jersey seller as well. The former Ohio State star ripped off nearly 2,000 total yards and 16 touchdowns, propelling the Cowboys to a 13-3 record. At 21 years of age, Elliott’s reign at the running back position is only just beginning. Get your Ezekiel Elliott jersey here.

Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys

  1. Dak Prescott; (Dallas Cowboys) While Elliott’s ascension could have been predicted, few saw the emergence of Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott coming. He got his chance to start after Tony Romo’s preseason injury and never relinquished the job, leading Dallas to victory in 11 of his first 12 games. Prescott never hit the feared rookie wall, raising his level of play and throwing for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Cowboys’ NFC divisional loss to the Green Bay Packers. Cowboys fans have a two-headed backfield monster in Prescott and Elliott to cherish for years to come. Get your Dak Prescott jersey here.

Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys

  1. Tom Brady; (New England Patriots) He’ll be 40 years old before the 2017 season begins, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady looks to be in his football prime as he leads New England to Super Bowl LI – what could become his fifth crown. The Pats have won 13 of 14 games with Brady in the lineup this season, with an average margin of victory of nearly 17 points. Father time inevitably gets everyone, but Brady is showing no signs of slowing down as his New England Patriots look to add another notch to a 15-year dynasty on Super Bowl Sunday. Get your Tom Brady jersey here.
  2. Odell Beckham Jr.; (New York Giants) Three seasons into his NFL career, Odell Beckham Jr.’s influence at the wide receiver position continues to grow exponentially. Beckham’s highlight-reel catches and elusive playmaking allowed him to rack up 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns while navigating the Giants to their first playoff appearance since 2011. His productivity – top-five among receivers in receptions, yards, touchdowns and yards per game – is as strong as there is, but Beckham’s personality and style of play resonate with fans in an increasingly passing-dominated league. Get your Odell Beckham Jr. jersey here.
  3. Carson Wentz; (Philadelphia Eagles) Carson Wentz had his critics prior to his first play after the Eagles traded away lots of picks to take him #2 overall in the draft, but they disappeared after Wentz’s pre-snap intelligence and rocket arm made the Eagles an early surprise team in 2016. Philadelphia would sputter to finish 7-9, but fans in the City of Brotherly Love no longer doubt that they have the signal-caller they need to ascend back into contention in the competitive NFC East. With a few more weapons around him, Wentz figures to be a top quarterback for years to come. Get your Carson Wentz jersey here.

Carson Wentz Philadelphia Eagles

  1. Rob Gronkowski; (New England Patriots) It’s been a difficult year for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on the gridiron, but his popularity off it has never been bigger. Gronk’s 2016 debut was delayed due to injury and he only played in eight games before a back surgery sidelined him for the remainder of the season, but he still managed to average 21.6 yards per reception as a perpetual mismatch in the middle of the field. New England hasn’t skipped a beat without Gronkowski, but the Pats could sure use him back heading into Super Bowl LI. Get your Rob Gronkowski jersey here.
  2. Antonio Brown; (Pittsburgh Steelers)From big-statistic performances to entertaining touchdown dances, the Steelers’ Antonio Brown rivals Beckham as the league’s most exciting and entertaining wide receiver. Including postseason numbers, Brown racked up over 1,500 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns before his Steelers crashed out in the AFC Championship Game. Free agency looms for Brown after the 2017 season, but he’s more than proved his worth to a Pittsburgh Steelers team with top-end talent at every skill position. Get your Antonio Brown jersey here.
  3. Derek Carr; (Oakland Raiders) Third-year quarterback Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders were perhaps the story of the NFL season as Carr led the Raiders to a surprising 12-4 record while performing like a MVP candidate. Carr threw for almost 4,000 yards along with 28 touchdowns and battling through injury to lead Oakland to its first playoff appearance in 14 years. A broken leg in Week 16 derailed Carr’s season and eventually the Raiders’ Super Bowl aspirations, but his leadership and moxie put the franchise in a great position moving forward. Get your Derek Carr jersey here.
  4. Von Miller; (Denver Broncos) The popularity of the Super Bowl 50 MVP didn’t waver throughout 2016, as Von Miller became the only defensive player to crack the top 10 in jersey sales. The sixth-year defensive end racked up 13.5 sacks in 2016, showing no signs of a MVP hangover after tormenting Cam Newton throughout Super Bowl 50. Miller is the de-facto face of the Denver Broncos after Peyton Manning’s retirement and is now right up there with J.J. Watt and Richard Sherman as the league’s most recognizable defensive player. Get your Von Miller jersey here.
  5. Russell Wilson; (Seattle Seahawks) It was a down year for the Seahawks from an outsider’s perspective simply because they’re not playing on Super Bowl Sunday, but Russell Wilson’s greatness was never more apparent in 2016. He set a single-season franchise record for passing yards with 4,219, progressing considerably as a pocket passer after injuries limited his mobility throughout the season. As if he hadn’t proven it before through two Super Bowl appearances and one championship, Wilson further showed that he’s the guy to lead Seattle to more hardware in the future. Get your Russell Wilson jersey here.

The 20 – 50 top selling player jersey’s in the NFL for the 2016 season are (which includes retired players like Joe Montana):

  1. Dez Bryant
  2. Jason Witten
  3. Aaron Rodgers
  4. Khalil Mack
  5. Julio Jones
  6. Cam Newton
  7. Julian Edelman
  8. Ben Roethlisberger
  9. Matt Ryan
  10. Eli Manning
  11. Le’Veon Bell
  12. Amari Cooper
  13. Richard Sherman
  14. Drew Brees
  15. JJ Watt
  16. Luke Kuechly
  17. Larry Fitzgerald
  18. Jarvis Landry
  19. Peyton Manning
  20. Todd Gurley II
  21. Jordy Nelson
  22. Kam Chancellor
  23. Kirk Cousins
  24. Colin Kaepernick
  25. Clay Matthews
  26. Marcus Mariota
  27. Matthew Stafford
  28. Brian Dawkins
  29. AJ Green
  30. Tyler Lockett
  31. Stefon Diggs
  32. Bo Jackson
  33. Landon Collins
  34. Joe Montana
  35. Doug Baldwin
  36. Harrison Smith
  37. Jimmy Graham
  38. NaVorro Bowman
  39. Justin Tucker
  40. Andrew Luck