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Old 06-05-2006, 11:51 PM   #1
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Default Brandt's all under-25 team

Brandt's all under-25 team: offense

Gil Brandt By Gil Brandt
NFL.com Senior Analyst

(June 3, 2006) -- Considering the list of NFL veterans who have retired over the past few years, an alarmist might fret over the talent level dipping. After all, future Hall of Famers like Jerry Rice, Aeneas Williams, Emmitt Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Bruce Smith, Darrell Green and Rod Woodson have all moved on to retirement. Thankfully, that's not the case as there has been an infusion of skilled young players keeping the NFL moving forward.

So who are the players that are the best of the best of the youngsters? Many times during year I am asked who I think the best players are for the future of the game and I have a hard time naming just a few. I have to name a whole team and even that is pretty difficult. Considering all the great young men that have entered the NFL, it's a daunting task to pick the best of them.

Let's start with the age limit. Anyone born before Jan. 1, 1981, is ineligible (sorry Carson Palmer, Antonio Gates, Anquan Boldin, Ben Watson and Michael Vick ). This ensures that everyone on the team will be 25 years of age or younger when the 2006 season starts.

Also, because it's taking so long to decide who makes the team and who doesn't, I'm splitting the roster into two parts. I'll announce the offense now and the defense will be named at a later date.

Finally, after naming the starting offensive unit, I realized I left off a lot of names. At the quarterback position, players like Matt Schaub, Eli Manning, Alex Smith and Charlie Frye seem to have bright futures. All seem to be capable of playing at a high level and those are just the quarterbacks.

Position Player Team DOB
Tight end Jason Witten Dallas 5-6-82
Others considered Ben Troupe Tennessee 9-1-82
Heath Miller Pittsburgh 10-22-82

Tackle Travelle Wharton Carolina 5-19-81
Jammal Brown New Orleans 3-30-81
Others considered Stacy Andrews Cincinnati 6-2-81
Khalif Barnes Jacksonville 4-21-82

Guard Logan Mankins New England 3-10-82
Shawn Andrews Philadelphia 12-25-82
Others considered Elton Brown Arizona 5-22-82
Chris Snee N.Y. Giants 1-8-82

Center Nick Hardwick San Diego 9-2-81
Others considered Alex Stepanovich Arizona 9-25-81

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Arizona 8-31-83
Andre Johnson Houston 7-11-81
Others considered Michael Clayton Tampa Bay 10-13-82
Mark Clayton Baltimore 7-2-82
Braylon Edwards Cleveland 2-21-83
Matt Jones Jacksonville 4-22-83

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh 3-2-82
Others considered Eli Manning N.Y. Giants 1-3-81
Matt Schaub Atlanta 6-25-81

Running back Clinton Portis Washington 9-1-81
Willis McGahee Buffalo 10-21-81
Others considered Carnell Williams Tampa Bay 4-21-82
Steven Jackson St. Louis 7-22-83
Note: Two running backs -- Kevin Jones (Detroit, 8-21-82) and Julius Jones (Dallas, 8-14-81) -- could make this list if they return to the form they showed in 2004.

Fullback Madison Hedge**** St. Louis 8-27-81

H-back Chris Cooley Washington 7-11-82

Long snapper Greg Warren Pittsburgh 10-18-81
Others considered Cullen Loeffler Minnesota 1-27-81

Kick returner Jerome Mathis Houston 6-26-82

Punt returner Mewelde Moore Minnesota 7-24-82

Extra Points

1. Two hundred and fifty-five players were selected in the 2006 draft. They came from 240 high schools located in 42 states, District of Columbia and American Samoa.

2. Two schools -- De La Salle in Concord and Long Beach Poly -- both in California, had three players selected.

3. Eleven schools had two players selected: Helix (Calif.), Palmdale (Calif.), Tustin (Calif.), Lincoln (Fla.) Stephenson (Ga.), Cathedral (Ind.), Madison Central (Mo.), Lebanon (Ore.), Forest Brook (Texas), Deep Creek (Va.), Varina (Va.)

4. States with the most players selected: California (36), Texas (30), Florida (26), Georgia (14), Virginia (14), Ohio (13).

5. The 32 players drafted in the first round of the draft came from 15 states and the District of Columbia: Florida (7), Ohio (4), California (3), Indiana (2), North Carolina (2), South Carolina (2) each had multiple selections

6. The 255 players selected in the draft came from 98 schools. The top five were: Southern Cal (14), Miami, Fla. (11), Ohio State (11), Virginia Tech (10) and Florida State (8).

7. All 98 schools with a selected player have had a player previously selected.

8. The most players drafted by conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (51), Big Ten (41), South Eastern (37).

9. The state of Alaska had two players selected in this year's draft, something that has never happened before.

Jacksonville (8 wins, 3 losses) and Dallas (31-14-1) have the best opening game records in NFL history (minimum 10 games). They will play each other to start their 2006 regular season campaign.

Two things I saw one well the obvious is that Edwards is not on GB and how he mentions Frye and how he could have a bright future.

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