Football is a young man’s game.
Seventeen of the 27 players named AP First Team All-Pros in 2014 are 28 years of age or younger.
NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison has decided to celebrate youth even further, by naming his All-Under-25 Team.
Two members of the Arizona Cardinals, safety Tyrann Mathieu and kicker Chandler Catanzaro, landed on Harrison’s squad.
Harrison on Mathieu:
Unfortunately, we have yet to see a full, healthy season from the “Honey Badger.” But we certainly have seen the immense talent, particularly when it comes to his innate ability to just make plays. He can tackle, rush the passer and cover the slot. And here’s the thing: He’s still just 22 years old. As the pro game continues to slow down for him from a mental perspective, he’ll become even more of a beast.
Mathieu had a decent sophomore season in 2014 after returning from a devastating knee injury that robbed him of the latter part of his rookie year.
In 13 games, the former LSU star registered 37 tackles, four passes defensed, an interception and a fumble recovery. He missed a couple games late in the season with a fractured thumb, but played in the Cardinals’ final two regular season games and their playoff loss at Carolina.
This might have been the toughest selection on the list, with Cody Parkey just about even-steven with Catanzaro. Parkey’s field goal percentage was one point higher (88.9 to 87.9), yet the Cardinals kicker was slightly better on kickoffs. Yep, we’re splitting hairs.
The rookie from Clemson was outstanding after beating veteran Jay Feely for the placekicking job in training camp.
Catanzaro hit on 29 of 33 field goal attempts and all 27 of his extra points in 2014. As Harrison points out, he was also outstanding on kickoffs, booting 50.6 percent of his kicks into or through the end zone for touchbacks, an improvement of almost 13 percent over Feely’s 2013 mark.
Click here to check out the rest of Harrison’s All-Under-25 Team.