We like to ensure you are up to date on rankings that are both countless and pointless. Enter ESPN's list of the best NFL teams with talent under 25, following the Dolphins game and right before the first round of cuts.
Why 25? Why not? If you need an arbitrary line to draw, 25 sure rolls off of the tongue well.
ESPN Insider put together a number of factors to consider when measuring young talent, which is usually considered to be a good measure of a team's long-term potential.
We wanted to create a ranking that balanced opportunity with performance and potential, so we used the following criteria:
The number of games started by players under the age of 25 in 2014
The number of snaps played by U25 players in 2014
Whether a team's young starters last season were simply injury replacements
The number of U25 first-team All-Pros and Pro Bowlers a team has on its roster (All-Pros were given more weight than Pro Bowls)
Positional value (young quarterbacks and positions impacting the passing game carry more weight; backup running backs and kickers are devalued)
The amount of value a team added in the 2015 draft, with a focus on the first two rounds (premium picks)
The expected number of key starters and reserves under the age of 25 in 2015
A team's recent track record of developing and retaining young talent
Players with significant injury or suspension issues in 2015 are downgraded
How do the Falcons do? Not well.
2014 ranking: 24
The Falcons would have been ranked higher had it not been for cornerback Desmond Trufant turning 25 on the cutoff date (Sept. 10). Second-round cornerback Jalen Collins projects more as a nickel back than a starter this season.
The under 25 list is not helped by Thomas Dimitroff's tendency to draft nearly entirely seniors and older players. Peria Jerry never even had a chance to disappoint on this list, because he was 25 years old before his first game. Ra'Shede Hageman is already 25 after only one season, and Trufant misses the cut after only playing two seasons.
This is a great list for measuring who kept their draft picks and selected guys who did not get injured.
Fortunately, Vic Beasley is the next major piece added to Atlanta's defense and the pass-rusher should fare well in Dan Quinn's system. Offensively, Jake Matthews didn't quite match his pedigree in Year 1 at left tackle, but at least he started 15 games for a line that was ravaged by injuries. The Falcons are counting on better health from Matthews leading to more holes for the young running back duo of Devonta Freeman and rookie Tevin Coleman. Both players have a lot to prove in an offense that has struggled to run effectively in recent years. Otherwise, Atlanta's U25 talent includes backup players such as tight end Levine Toilolo and rookie wide receiver Justin Hardy.
For the tl:dr crowd: "Most of the players on this list have never played in the NFL."
These teams are either great or terrible, both on the field and on their drafting success . The Colts dropped from four to 30 because Andrew Luck had a birthday. The only thing that seems fairly consistent is teams that are frequently picking early in the draft are higher up in this list, while teams picking later in the draft are more towards the end of this list. I guess the Falcons remain an exception after two years in the top 10.
So, to sum up all of this, the Falcons land around the back of a nonsense ranking. Hooray!