Friday, August 19, 2022

2022 All Under 25 Offensive Team: Chargers have most first-teamers with Justin Herbert, Rashawn Slater

Young talent is key in the NFL. Not only are players on rookie contracts cheap, but seemingly every year we see new guys  enter the world of professional football and completely take over. In fact, we saw that on offense and defense this past year with wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and linebacker Micah Parsons.

Inexpensive yet extraordinarily talented players directly affect a team’s “Super Bowl window,” so hitting on your draft picks is important. Below, we will examine our NFL offensive All Under 25 first and second teams. The only rule is that these players must be under 25-years-old entering the 2022 NFL season. This actually disqualifies a few players, such as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who will turn 25 in August.

There’s plenty of stars to discuss on this list, so let’s jump in. 

First Team

QB: Justin Herbert (Chargers)

The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year upped his game in 2021, as Herbert finished second in passing yards with 5,014 and third in passing touchdowns with 38. The Oregon product earned his first Pro Bowl bid, and is someone who should be in the MVP running this upcoming season. Herbert is more athletic than people give him credit for and can complete throws from different angles. He’s not afraid to take chances in tight windows, and is only gaining confidence. The Chargers haven’t made the playoffs since 2018, but that should change in 2022. 

RB: Jonathan Taylor (Colts)

Taylor was the best running back in the NFL last year even though the Colts missed the playoffs. He led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns in 2021 and had 10 100-yard rushing games. He even scored five touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills in Week 11. Last year wasn’t a one-year thing. Taylor is going to be a legitimate star moving forward. 

WR: Justin Jefferson (Vikings)

The Vikings star has recorded 3,016 receiving yards in his first two NFL seasons — which are the most recorded by any wide receiver in his first two NFL seasons since the merger. Jefferson finished his rookie campaign with 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns on 88 catches, breaking the record for most receiving yards by a rookie. He upped his game in 2021 with 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns on 108 catches. Two NFL seasons, two All-Pro selections and two Pro Bowl appearances. He’s already one of the best in the game.

WR: Ja’Marr Chase (Bengals)

Chase may go down as one of the best rookies in NFL history. The No. 5 overall pick recorded 1,455 receiving yards in the regular season, which is the most recorded by a rookie in the Super Bowl era, and helped the Bengals win three straight postseason games to get to Super Bowl LVI. Chase not only knows how to get open, but he’s also a bonafide home-run hitter who can score whenever he touches the ball. Tyrann Mathieu dubbed him “Odell Beckham 2.0” after watching him explode for 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches in Week 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs. 

WR: CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys)

It didn’t take long for Lamb to establish himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and his outlook for 2022 is bright. With Amari Cooper gone, Lamb is the unquestioned No. 1 target for Dak Prescott. He set career highs across the board in 2021 with 1,102 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 79 catches. In fact, bettors see him as a best bet to lead the league in receiving yards in 2022. 

TE: Kyle Pitts (Falcons)

Pitts is already a star. He became the first rookie tight end to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season since Mike Ditka back in 1961, and he also broke Julio Jones‘ Falcons rookie receiving record last year. Pitts finished third among all tight ends last year in receiving yards and led all players at his position (who recorded at least three catches) in yards per reception with 15.09. A hybrid receiver, expect a big season from him in 2022. Atlanta added Drake London and Bryan Edwards on the outside, which should hopefully make life easier on the 21-year-old tight end. 

LT: Rashawn Slater (Chargers)

The No. 13 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Northwestern started at left tackle right away for the Chargers, and his PFF grade of 83.6 ranked eighth among all tackles. Slater was named second-team All-Pro in 2021 and got a Pro Bowl nod as well. It has to feel so good to hit on a franchise left tackle in the draft and have him contribute immediately. 

LG: Alijah Vera-Tucker (Jets)

The rookie Vera-Tucker wasn’t consistent all year, but he has great potential and should just get better. The No. 14 overall pick out of USC looked like a rising star in some games and then in other games he struggled. With that being said, Vera-Tucker was still named to the Pro Football Writers of America NFL All-Rookie Team. He played left guard in 2021, but Jets head coach Robert Saleh has said he will shift over to right. Since Vera-Tucker spent his rookie season on the left, we will keep him here for this list. 

C: Creed Humphrey (Chiefs)

The third rookie offensive lineman to make our first-team All Under 25 Team. Humphrey was the No. 1 center in the NFL last year, according to PFF, and also recorded the highest run blocking grade among any center with a 93.1. The Chiefs have found a franchise center. 

RG: James Daniels (Steelers)

Daniels is an interesting player, because he should finally get some stability moving forward with the Steelers. The former Bear moved around on Chicago’s offensive line, playing left guard, center and right guard over the past four seasons. In fact, he played just three snaps at right guard before this past year, per PFF. Daniels has been solid over his first four seasons, but last year was probably his best overall campaign. Interestingly enough, Daniels barely makes this list since he turns 25 just days after the 2022 regular season kicks off. 

RT: Tristan Wirfs (Buccaneers)

Wirfs was our first-team Under 25 right tackle last year and nothing has changed entering 2022. He was the sixth-best tackle in the NFL last year, per PFF, and earned his first Pro Bowl nod as well as his first All-Pro selection. 

Second team

QB: Mac Jones (Patriots)

RB: Najee Harris (Steelers)

WR: Jaylen Waddle (Dolphins)

WR: DK Metcalf (Seahawks)

WR: Tee Higgins (Bengals)

TE: Noah Fant (Seahawks)

LT: Andrew Thomas (Giants)

LG: Michael Onwenu (Patriots)

C: Lloyd Cushenberry III (Broncos)

RG: Trey Smith (Chiefs)

RT: Penei Sewell (Lions)

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