Below are the best players by age in the NFL. There were some hard decisions to make especially at 25 and 26, where there’s a huge clutter of dominating and rising players.
21: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
68 catches, 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns, that’s his rookie season. Now we know why Johnny Manziel was so good in college.
22: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
Pretty good stats by Evans, right? Beckham blew those out of the water and he only played in 12 games.
23: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers
It’s hard to believe he’s only 23 after already appearing in two Pro Bowls and clearly stating his case as one of the best defensive players in all of football.
24: Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals
He’s just 24 and he’s been to 4 Pro Bowls. He could be awesome had about 4 or 5 different positions in the NFL.
25: J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
Andrew Luck was given careful consideration here but Watt might be the best player in the NFL period, not just in his year of birth.
26: Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks
A lot of good 26 year old players but the nod has to go to Sherman who has clearly demonstrated he’s the best cover guy in the league.
27: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
Who would you rather have on your team, Thomas or Matt Stafford? Hard to pick between the better 27 year old. Both are awesome.
28: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
He’s a free agent hoping to avoid the franchise tag. If he does, he’s going to get paid BIG.
29: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
With Adrian Peterson out of football this past year this was an easy decision. Megatron when healthy is the best receiver in football.
30: Joe Thomas, T, Cleveland Browns
Probably the best offensive lineman in football.
31: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Currently the best player in the game.
32: Terrell Suggs, OLB, Baltimore Ravens
Cameron Wake is another 32 year old sackmaster, but Suggs hasn’t dropped off at all. He had 12 sacks last season and he continues to be a beast. The fact that he’s 32 is a bit surprising, it seems like he’s been in the league for 20 years.
33: Robert Mathis, DE, Indianapolis Colts
Mathis had the best year of his career in 2013 with 19.5 sacks before sitting out last year with a torn Achilles tendon in the offseason. He’s back this season looking for a big comeback. Another guy looking for a comeback is Troy Polamalu who is not the player he used to be.
34: Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Despite the back surgery which many theorized could end his career, he’s playing his best ball.
35: Steve Smith Sr., WR, Baltimore Ravens
Another former Carolina Panther Julius Peppers is still a great player too, but he’s declined a bit whereas Smith seems to keep getting better with age.
36: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Some suggest he’s declining yet he still lead the NFL in passing yet again this season.
37: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Won yet another Super Bowl and was named the game’s MVP. He’s showing no signs of slowing down.
38: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
Is this it for Manning? Charles Woodson is still in the league, too. In terms of performance he continues to line up historically good season.
39: Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Hasselbeck deserves mention for his tutelage of Luck, but he’s no longer a contributor on the field. Bryant is as good of a kicker for the Falcons as anyone.
40: Phil Dawson, K, San Francisco 49ers
He was 25 of 31 last year and still has enough leg to hit from 55.
41: no active player this age
42: Adam Vinatieri, K, Indianapolis Colts
Hard to believe he’s still in the league. He might be turning gray but he made 30 of 31 field goal attempts last year.