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The Falcons head into 2017 with some of the best young talent in football

We’re not going to quibble with the honor.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons-Minicamp Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

From Keanu Neal to Austin Hooper, the Falcons are loaded with young, gifted players other teams are surely envious of. You’d expect the team to get some recognition for that, particularly in an offseason where recognition has not been lacking, and you would not be disappointed.

Football Outsiders has given the Falcons’ young stars some love, writing that Atlanta has the fifth-best young talent base in the entire league. That’s astonishing given how bare the cupboard was just a couple of years ago, and a testament to what this coaching staff and and front office have been able to accomplish.

While you might be tempted to argue that the Falcons have the best collection of young talent in the league, I wouldn’t go quite that far. Then again, though, look at this group, all 25 or under.

Offense: TE Austin Hooper

Defense: DE Takkarist McKinley, DE Vic Beasley, DT Grady Jarrett, LBs Duke Riley, De’Vondre Campbell, Deion Jones, S Keanu Neal

Add in Damontae Kazee, who could be starting at some point in the near future, and you’ve got a pretty astonishing cast on defense. I look forward to seeing them on the field, and look forward to all of these guys being elite players even when they’re well over 25.