With a lot of player movement this offseason, this coming NFL season could be as unpredictable as any in recent memory.
While the veteran-laden New England Patriots are once again the favorites to win the Super Bowl, there are several up-and-coming teams loaded with young talent knocking on the door. In a league known for its parody, any of these teams could make a title run this coming season.
With that in mind, here are the top four young cores in the NFL, in no particular order, according to NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
1. Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers' youth movement is mostly on the defensive side of the football, where they're led by Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa, All-Pro cornerback Desmond King II and All-Pro strong safety Derwin James. That's an amazing trio for the future, as they're all under 25 years old. While quarterback Philip Rivers is no spring chicken (he turns 38 in December), the Chargers have a pair of promising young offensive players in wide receiver Mike Williams and tight end Hunter Henry as well. The Chargers' roster is one of the strongest young rosters, from top to bottom, in the league.
2. Dallas Cowboys
Coming off a season in which they won the NFC East as well as a playoff game, the Dallas Cowboys look hungry for more in 2019. They're led by their young QB-RB duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, which has seemingly now become a trio after trading for wide receiver Amari Cooper midway through last season. All three are remarkably 25 or younger (although Prescott turns 26 on July 29), even though it feels like they've been around forever. On defense, the Cowboys have a pair of under-25 studs in linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. If the team's once-prized offensive line can return to form, Dallas can make a serious run in 2019.
3. Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears are led by their tremendous defense, which includes second-year linebacker Roquan Smith and fifth-year nose tackle Eddie Goldman, to compliment vets like Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Danny Trevathan, who are all under 30. But Chicago's youth movement isn't limited to its defense, as their three top offensive players – QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Tarik Cohen and WR Allen Robinson – are all age 25 or under. That doesn't even include rookie RB David Montgomery, who is receiving a lot of buzz. As the premier defensive unit in the league, with so much young talent on offense too, the Bears will surely be looking to avenge last year's first-round playoff upset.
4. Cleveland Browns
When you think of a team with immense upside, as far as their young core is concerned, the Cleveland Browns are likely to be the first team that comes to mind. They're the favorites to win the AFC North, in part due to an impressive trio of second-year players – QB Baker Mayfield, RB Nick Chubb and CB Denzel Ward. When you add in third-year defensive end Myles Garrett and tight end David Njoku, the Browns have a ton of young talent to go along with newly acquired Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon. The hype has reached epic proportions, but this feels like a team that could deliver on their very gaudy expectations.
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