clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Roundtable: Mile High Report writers draft their all-star NFL teams with only players under 25

New, comments

In the inaugural ‘25 & Under Battle Royale!’

Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

One of the more exciting parts about this time of year for many NFL fans is taking a look around the league and predicting who the next stars will be. A few of us at Mile High Report are no different and have had more than a couple internal discussions about just that since the 2019 NFL Draft ended.

We decided to do something about it and have a little competition.

What follows it our inaugural 25 & Under NFL teams. We pick, you decide which one would win out on the field. The rules were as follows:

  1. No player can turn 26 during the 2019 season.
  2. You must fill out an All-22 depth chart, with 2 additional picks for flexibility.
  3. The draft will proceed in snake order, so the first pick in round 1 is the last pick in round 4.

Under 25 Draft

Team Taylor Team Jeff Joe's Jumpin' Beans Team Joem
Team Taylor Team Jeff Joe's Jumpin' Beans Team Joem
#1 - Patrick Mahomes - QB #2 - Joey Bosa- EDGE #3 - Baker Mayfield - QB #4 - Jalen Ramsey - CB
#8 - Denzel Ward- CB #7 - DeShaun Watson - QB #6 - Myles Garrett - DL/EDGE #5 - DeForest Buckner - DL/EDGE
Chris Jones- DL/EDGE Quenton Nelson - OL Marshon Lattimore - CB Jack Conklin - OL
Darius Leonard - LB Roquan Smith - LB Derwin James - S Landon Collins - S
Bradley Chubb - EDGE Stefon Diggs - WR Ryan Ramczyk - OL Tre'Davius White - CB
Amari Cooper - WR Ronnie Stanley - OL Desmond King - CB Ezekiel Elliot - RB
Mike McGlinchey - OL JuJu Smith-Schuster - WR Saquon Barkley - RB Yannick Ngakoue - EDGE
Will Hernandez - OL Ed Oliver - DL Quinnen Williams - DL Leighton Vander Esch - LB
Dalton Risner - OL Jamal Adams - S O.J. Howard - TE T.J. Hockenson - TE
T.J. Watt - EDGE Kendall Fuller - CB Laremy Tunsil - OL Taylor Moton - OL
Jabrill Peppers - S Nick Bosa- EDGE Evan Engram - TE Josh Allen - EDGE
Daron Payne - DL Christian McCaffery -HB James Daniels - OL Tyler Boyd- WR
David Njoku - TE Jaire Alexander - CB Danielle Hunter - EDGE Jonah Williams - OL
Alvin Kamara - RB Leonard Williams - DL Marlon Humphrey - CB Kenny Clark - DL
Justin Reid - S Malik Hooker - S Jaylon Smith - LB Garrett Bradbury - OL
Marquise Brown - WR Pat Elflein - OL Dion Dawkins - OL John Johnson III - S
Braden Smith - OL Minkah Fitzpatrick - DB Devin White - LB Orlando Brown Jr - OL
DeAndre Baker - CB Frank Ragnow - OL Mike Williams - WR Devin Bush - LB
Noah Fant - TE Andre Dillard - OL Chris Godwin - WR Adoree Jackson - CB
Michael Davis - CB Myles Jack - LB Jessie Bates - S Will Fuller - WR
Erik McCoy - OL Mark Andrews - TE Courtland Sutton - WR Austin Hooper - TE
Calvin Ridley - WR Todd Gurley - HB Deion Jones - LB Christian Wilkins - DL
Jarrad Davis - LB A'Shawn Robinson - DL Brian Burns - EDGE Phillip Lindsay - RB
Jonathan Allen - DL Dallas Goedert - TE Chris Lindstrom - OL Jared Goff- QB

Taylor's Troublemakers

Offense

QB: Patrick Mahomes

RB: Alvin Kamara

WR1: Amari Cooper

WR2: Calvin Ridley

WR3: Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

TE: Noah Fant

TE: David Njoku

LT: Mike McGlinchey

LG Will Hernandez

C: Erik McCoy

RG: Braden Smith

RT: Dalton Risner

Defense

Edge: Bradley Chubb

DL: Chris Jones

DL: Daron Payne

Edge: T.J. Watt

LB: Jarrad Davis

LB: Darius Leonard

CB: Denzel Ward

CB: DeAndre Baker

CB: Michael Davis

S: Justin Reid

S: Jabril Peppers

Flex: Jonathan Allen - DL

Did you have any overarching strategy as you built your team?

Taylor: I wanted to put together a high-octane group on offense to take advantage of Mahomes’ skillset. I wanted multiple legitimate deep targets to take advantage of his arm, but also guys with the versatility to keep teams guessing and reacting on short throws, rather than anticipating.

On defense, I wanted excellent pass rush first and foremost, both off the edge and from the interior, combined with good man coverage on the back end. Ending up with a great opportunity to grab a playmaking, do-it-all linebacker was a really nice bonus. Call it a Wade Phillips defense with a little Fangio thrown in to spice things up.

Have you given any thought to the type of offensive or defensive schemes you’d utilize for your roster?

Taylor: My knowledge of offensive scheming is, unfortunately, pretty remedial. On that side of the ball I was more or less putting together a group that I think would do well with a WCO/spread hybrid.

I’ve got a better handle on defensive scheming, fortunately. And, as I mentioned in the first question, I basically wanted to build a young version of the Broncos’ 2015 defense under Wade Phillips. Excellent pass rush and an emphasis on man coverage corners was the idea, though I was a bit slow to execute in regard to corners. Picking up an ideal Fangio-style ILB in Darius Leonard shakes up the formula nicely, though. I put it together with the nickel package as the primary defensive package.

Are there any players you’re surprised fell to you?

Taylor: There were a couple of them. I nearly took Noah Fant instead of Njoku in our 13th round, so getting him to pair with Njoku in the 19th was a good get. The biggest surprise was realizing Calvin Ridley was still there in the 22nd, though. And Jarrad Davis & Jonathan Allen are both guys I would not have expected to last to the final two rounds.

What do you think the biggest strength of your team is, what’s the biggest weakness?

Taylor: Offensively, I’m stoked about the passing attack. With Mahomes throwing the ball to not one but two highly talented TEs, plus great WRs, and an elite pass-catching RB, it’s a group that would be scary for opposing secondaries.

The rushing attack is the part of my offense that worries me. The pieces are there between Kamara and the OL to have some great production, but it’s not the best setup for power rushing and run blocking support from the TEs may be average at best.

Defensively, I’m really excited about the pass rushers I landed. Bradley Chubb and T.J. Watt coming off the edge with Chris Jones pushing the middle of the pocket is my kind of fun. That trio combined for a whopping 40.5 sacks in 2018.

Mirroring the offense, it’s my team’s run defense that concerns me. I was able to shore it up late, but it’s still a roster built to defend the pass first and foremost with defending the run taking a backseat. What can I say? I believe football is won through the air these days.

If you had to run one team other than your own, which would you choose?

Taylor: I’d take Joe Rowles’s. Mayfield is #2 for me among these young QBs, and I love his defense. At least half his defensive picks had me grimacing and crossing guys off of my short list. He probably has the best duo of offensive tackles as well.

NFL: Pro Bowl
Patrick Mahomes with a defense? Yikes.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Watson Your Wallet? (Team Jeff)

Offense

QB: DeShaun Watson

RB: Todd Gurley

WR1: Stefon Diggs

WR2: JuJu Smith-Schuster

WR3/RB2: Christian McCaffrey

TE1: Mark Andrews

TE2: Dallas Goedert

LT: Ronnie Stanley

LG: Quenton Nelson

C: Pat Elflein

RG: Frank Ragnow

RT: Andre Dillard

Defense

EDGE: Joey Bosa

DL: Ed Oliver

DL: Leonard Williams

EDGE: Nick Bosa

LB: Myles Jack

LB: Roquan Smith

CB: Kendall Fuller

CB: Jaire Alexander

S: Jamal Adams

S: Malik Hooker

DB: Minkah Fitzpatrick

NT/Flex: A’Shawn Robinson

Did you have any overarching strategy as you built your team?

Jeff: I’ll be honest, I initially misunderstood the exercise and thought we were collectively picking one team, so after Mahomes went off the board, I shifted to the next most important position group - edge rusher, to get a blue chip player there.

Although Joe Rowles graciously offered to let me back up and pick Mayfield once we clarified, I wanted to keep it fair. I love DeShaun Watson and was able to get him in the second, so after that, my focus was on getting a few key blue chip players around him early on to keep him upright.

The rest of the draft, I was trying to identify position groups where there was a lack of talent, and get the top of those groups first. I feel like I succeeded with WR, and got two of the threelear top tier guys in the group.

I failed, however, at corner as others wisely snapped up the top cover guys, so I shifted to focusing on building a strong safety and ILB corps, with versatile zone corners to fit my scheme.

Have you given any thought to the type of offensive or defensive schemes you’d utilize for your roster?

Jeff: On defense, I would run a match zone defense in the vein of Nick Saban or Fangio. This was mostly driven by personnel once the top man corners were off the board. For personnel, I’d base out of a 4-2-5 with the Bosa brothers having flexibility to become OLBs if I needed to insert A’Shawn Robinson and go 3-4 on run stopping packages. The secondary has a lot of flexibility with Fitzpatrick being a bit of a swiss army knife I can move around and essentially give me a slot corner/3rd safety rolled into one. This paired with Jamal Adams/Malik Hooker and Smith/Jack at LB have the makings of a great Fangio style defense.

Offensively, I would employ an Air Raid style passing attack that threatened all areas of the field to take advantage of Watson’s arm and ability to push the ball deep. Personnel wise-I would alternate between 21 and 12, shifting McCaffrey into the slot (essentially giving me 21/11 flexibility) a majority of the time, which gives the offense a ton of cool options on jet motions, etc with the two headed pass catching monster backfield of Gurley and McCaffrey.

Are there any players you’re surprised fell to you?

Jeff: I was happy to be able to grab Nick Bosa that far back into the draft, and pleasantly surprised that Andre Dillard lasted as long as he did, since I was floundering for OT options once Orlando Brown went off the board.

I was also excited to sneak Myles Jack in that late in the draft to pair with Roquan Smith.

What do you think the biggest strength of your team is, what’s the biggest weakness?

Jeff: On defense, the pass rush combo of the Bosa brothers and Ed Oliver/Leonard Williams will be hard to combat, but looking across the division, everyone has stacked pass rush talent.

I think up the middle of the defense (cover LBs/safeties) are probably the biggest strength, with corners being my weakness. Fortunately, they’re good scheme fits so I can hide them a bit, but not getting a blue chip corner hurt.

Offensively, as I said at the beginning, I think my RB/WR corps is elite, with my #1 and #2 WRs being two of the best WRs in the game, regardless of age. For offensive line, the left side of the line in Ronnie Stanley and Nelson is a great pairing. I’ve got a rookie at RT though, and although he’s heralded as the best pass blocking OT of the 2019 draft class, going against these teams’ pass rush will be a challenge.

My tight ends, while they have potential, got the short end of the stick in drafting priority, and the other teams did a better job snatching up the top talent in that position group.

If you had to run one team other than your own, which would you choose?

I love the trenches on both sides of the ball on Joe M’s team, and love the air attack and pass rush of Taylor’s team, but the overall star power of Joe Rowles defense intrigues the most. Derwin James, Marshon Lattimore, Quinnen Williams and Myles Garrett are all absolute studs. Plus he has my favorite player ever at QB.

NFL: Pro Bowl
It’s crazy to think what Watson could do with help up front.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

JoRo’s Baked Beans

Offense

QB: Baker Mayfield

RB: Saquon Barkley

WR1: Mike Williams

WR2: Chris Godwin

WR3: Courtland Sutton

Y-TE: O.J. Howard

F-TE: Evan Engram

LT: Laremy Tunsil

LG: Chris Lindstrom

C: James Daniels

RG: Dion Dawkins

RT: Ryan Ramczyk

Defense

Edge: Danielle Hunter

DL: Quinnen Williams

DL/EDGE: Myles Garrett

Edge: Brian Burns

Will: Devin White

Mike: Deion Jones

Sam: Jaylon Smith

CB: Marshon Lattimore

CB: Marlon Humphrey

NB: Desmond King

SS: Derwin James

FS: Jessie Bates III

Did you have any overarching strategy as you built your team?

JoRo: After I lucked into Baker, I wanted to make a point to build the kind of defense that could slow down everyone else. If you’ve been keeping up with NFL Twitter lately, there’s been a big debate about Coverage Vs. Pass Rush. I decided, “Why not both?” Unfortunately, Joe M. and I had a lot of the same guys in mind or I would have grabbed Jalen Ramsey at the top of the second. Even still, I’ll happily take Myles Garrett, who is quietly the best young pass rusher in the NFL.

I was sweating out Ryan Ramczyk and had to nab him when I did. I think he’s the best offensive linemen under the age of 26 and gives me a chance at keeping Mayfield clean against the opposing lines. There was a stark opportunity cost when I did this, however. Losing Stefon Diggs and Amari in rounds 5 and 6 led me to grab Barkley. While I tend to undervalue running backs, he’s such a dynamic threat in all phases of the game that I saw him as more of a play-maker than any one position.

I wanted my receiving corps to provide both a size mismatch and a vertical element to the offense, and it worked out masterfully so long as they continue to develop. One of the other cool things my receivers provide me is with that both Chris Godwin and Mike Williams have had a lot of success in the slot so far in their careers. While Courtland Sutton is listed as WR3 I think he could blow up and the three of them could essentially rotate.

Have you given any thought to the type of offensive or defensive schemes you’d utilize for your roster?

JoRo: On offense, I’d feature two tight end personnel as much as possible with Evan Engram and Barkley used as match up weapons. Ideally I’d want to incorporate a lot of Air Raid concepts similar to what Freddie Kitchens and Andy Reid did in 2018 to take advantage of Mayfield’s familiarity.

On defense, look for a coverage scheme similar to what Wink Martindale utilizes for the Baltimore Ravens. Are we in man? Are we in zone? Match zone? You’ll never know until it’s too late because Burns, Garrett, Q, and the gang will be terrorizing you. If you somehow find a way past the first line of defense, my linebacker corps is equal parts fast, ferocious, and savvy in coverage.

Are there any players you’re surprised fell to you?

JoRo: Throughout the draft, Joe M. was drafting guys I had my eyes on, so half my team was a bit of a surprise. It broke my heart when he stole Leighton Vander Esch, Moton, Bradbury, and Clark.

I did not expect Laremy Tunsil to be there in the 10th. Danielle Hunter was a bit of a surprise as well. Had he gone before me, I would have built my team into a pure 3-4 base with a more flexible edge, but he has 40 sacks through his first four seasons in the league. Marlon Humphrey and Jaylon Smith were also really pleasant surprises.

What do you think the biggest strength of your team is, what’s the biggest weakness?

JoRo: Once I missed on my number 1 receiver targets, I made a conscious decision to build up my line and tertiary receiving options. O.J. Howard is one of the very best tight ends in the league and will blow up this year in Arians’ offense so long as he can stay healthy. Meanwhile, Evan Engram is the kind of player Broncos Country ought to pray Noah Fant can grow into. The three of them together will demand so much attention from the middle of opposing defenses that Baker would get a ton of easy completions. With that in mind, my offense would primarily be a 12 personnel set up, at least until Sutton makes the jump. Until he does so, my receiving corps is the weakest in our league.

On defense, I went a little against the grain and chased BPA with the idea that 3-4/4-3 debate is archaic in today’s NFL. 60%+ of the time, NFL defenses have an extra defensive back on the field and so I built my team accordingly. Because of this, the defense is pretty light and runs essentially a 3-3-5 with Brian Burns as a situational rusher if I want to move to a more traditional nickel set. My biggest weakness on D is a lack of pure girth. I strongly considered Sheldon Rankins, and if Eddie Goldman was a little younger, he’d be suiting up for me.

If you had to run one team other than your own, which would you choose?

JoRo: I have a really tough time deciding because so many of Joe M’s picks were one selection before I wanted the same guy, and Taylor has a silly good supporting cast around Patrick Mahomes. If you put a gun to me head though, I’d pick Jeff’s. Imagine if the Texans had gone out and actually got DeShaun Watson some help this year, then go look at Jeff’s starting defense.

I thought he made out like a bandit with Ronnie Stanley, who’s probably the best left tackle 25 and under in the league, at least until Andre Dillard develops. Not only that, but I really like what he did in his secondary. Considering that he thought it’d be a weakness, it really turned out. Somehow I had overlooked the fact that Malik Hooker’s just 23 and it’s still haunting me. He’d gobble up interceptions with that pass rush in front of him.

I also strongly considered Ed Oliver over Q when I took Williams, but I went with the size. I worry that was a mistake. Oliver between the Bosa’s would leave him free to wreck most of the interior lines we all put together. Lastly, I really wanted Christian McCaffery and thought about grabbing him in round 8, but knew I had designs for two tight ends and worried I couldn’t get the line I needed for a shorter quarterback.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
We’re feeling dangerous.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Team Joe M

Offense

QB: Jared Goff

RB1: Ezekiel Elliot

RB2: Phillip Lindsay

WR1: Will Fuller

WR2: Tyler Boyd

TE1: T.J. Hockenson

TE2: Austin Hooper

LT: Orlando Brown Jr.

LG: Taylor Morton

C: Garrett Bradbury

RG: Jonah Williams

RT: Jack Conklin

Defense

EDGE: Yannick Ngakoue

DL: Christian Wilkins

DL: Kenny Clark

EDGE: DeForest Buckner

OLB: Josh Allen

MLB: Devin Bush

OLB: Leighton Vander Esch

CB1: Jalen Ramsey

CB2: Adoree Jackson

CB3: Tre’Davius White

SS: Landon Collins

FS: John Johnson III

Did you have any overarching strategy as you built your team?

Joe M: I relied heavily on PFF grades for my picks along with looking at the 2019 draft. I would also keep a tab open with PFR up so that I could check players ages

Have you given any thought to the type of offensive or defensive schemes you’d utilize for your roster?

Joe M: Most of OL is both quick and strong, so I’d probably rely on ZBS particularly with Elliot carrying the ball and Goff being very adept at playaction passing. Hockensen and Hooper give me a dynamic double TE set even if Hooper is a below average blocker. Lindsay would be used in the slot some as he could be deadly in jet sweep situations. Fuller’s speed would force defenses to respect the deep ball.

Defensively I drafted thinking 4-3 with Clark and Wilkins at the DTs both of whom are elite at interior pressure and then Buckner and Ngakoue as the DEs. Josh Allen and Leighton Vander Esch are my OLBs. That will take some conversion for Allen since he rarely dropped into coverage at Kentucky. Devin Bush is my MLB. My secondary is strong with two of the best CBs in the league in terms of the combination of coverage and tackling - Jalen Ramsey and Adoree Jackson. My CB3, Tre’Davious White, is a step below those two but no slouch. Collins and Johnson make a nice pairing at safety as both have a nice combination of intelligence, coverage ability and tackling prowess.

Are there any players you’re surprised fell to you?

Joe M: I had an unfair advantage in that I didn’t have to take my QB until the end of the draft since we were’t drafting QB2 and the other three guys took their QBs early. I had my choice between Kyler Murray, Jared Goff and Mitch Trubisky at QB. I went with Goff based largely on his PFF ratings from 2018. Devin Bush, Adoree Jackson and Christian Wilkins were all surprises that they dropped to where they did. Also getting Phillip Lindsay in the 23rd round was a steal.

What do you think the biggest strength of your team is, what’s the biggest weakness?

Joe M: Offensively my WRs are not household names, but both are highly regarded despite Boyd’s slow start and Fuller’s injuries. If Fuller has lost a step my offense’ ability to stress the defense vertically is going to minimal. Hockenson and Hooper give me two great receivers at TE, but I not sure that either is a vertical threat. Lindsay has that potential either from the slot or out of the backfield and Elliot is quite accomplished as both a runner and receiver. My OL is going to be strength of this team with elite starters at every position (Bradbury is projected to be elite; it’s rare for centers to go in the first round).

Defensively teams that could force Josh Allen into coverage could probably hurt this defense, but Wilkins, Clark, Buckner, and Ngakoue should keep teams from having much time to throw.

If you had to run one team other than your own, which would you choose?

Joe M: I’d pick Taylor’s team. He and I were drafting from the same script at many points, and I think his team has the fewest holes. Not that any of these teams have real “holes,” but his has the fewest tiny cracks that could be exploited.

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams
The only starting QB in the Royale with experience on the biggest stage in sports.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

So what do you think Broncos Country?

Poll

Which team is the best?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Taylor’s Troublemakers
    (63 votes)
  • 16%
    Watson Your Wallet
    (20 votes)
  • 19%
    Joe’s Baked Beans
    (23 votes)
  • 10%
    Team Joe M
    (13 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now