NFL teams want to be good.
If they can be young at the same time, that’s even better.
So, it stands to reason the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have plenty to be excited about, given that they were ranked one and two by Rivers McCown in ESPN’s “NFL 25-and-under organizational rankings.”
The premise is simple: which teams are in the best shape based on their younger-than-25 talent?
An Insider piece, the Arizona Cardinals came in at 25.
The good news: Patrick Peterson is one of the very few cornerbacks in the NFL who can play boundary-man coverage without any safety help. That alone is worth a few bumps up this list despite the lack of supporting talent. Bobby Massie blew only four of his 27.5 blocks after Arizona’s Week 10 bye. Plus, Michael Floyd has some untapped potential that could be better utilized after a full year of offseason activities and the acquisition of an actual quarterback.
The bad news: Nobody else on the roster in 2012 who qualified for this list moves the needle past “Just A Guy” status, and a few of them at this point would kill to be thought of as “Just A Guy.” The 2013 draft brought in some high-quality players, but defensive back Tyrann Mathieu works primarily in the passing game and converting him to safety may be something that takes him some time to acclimate to.
ESPN mentioned the team’s “name” players who fit the bill, though they are not the team’s only young talent.
Running back Ryan Williams (23) and linebacker Sam Acho (24) have each shown flashes of playmaking ability and Mathieu, while intriguing, is not the only member of this year’s rookie class expected to make an immediate impact.
What the Cardinals don’t have — outside of 24-year-old Ryan Lindley — is a young quarterback to build around, and that combined with the franchise’s poor track record at the position helped to keep them down on the list.