Two New Orleans Saints players make ESPN’s top 25 NFL players under 25


ESPN released their top 25 NFL players who are under the age of 25 (must be insider to view).

Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack, the fifth overall pick in 2014, tops the list at No. 1.  Mack is followed by Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith at No. 2 and Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly at No. 3.  But the New Orleans Saints have a pair of players on there as well.  Left tackle Terron Armstead (2013 third-round pick) and Brandin Cooks (2014 first-round pick) both made the cut.

"14. Terron Armstead, LT, New Orleans SaintsArmstead experienced wild performance swings while making 14 starts last season, but the Saints are convinced he can become one of the very best tackles in the league. A pro personnel director concurred.18. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans SaintsCooks’ talent is obvious and he should get plenty of chances in an offense that no longer features Jimmy Graham, among others. He won’t even turn 22 years old until Sept. 25. The way he performed during joint practices with New England and a subsequent preseason game drew praise from Bill Belichick and Sean Payton alike."

The New Orleans Saints and that pro personnel director are right — Terron Armstead can become one of the very best tackles in the league.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but the athleticism Armstead brings is unheard of from an offensive lineman.  He definitely deserves this national attention.

Zach Strief, Armtead’s counterpart on the right side had nothing but good things to say about the third-year tackle, who is swiftly springing towards dominance. “I would say Terron probably has every single attribute you would look for in an offensive lineman,” Strief said during a recent interview. “I think he’s highly athletic, he’s extremely strong, he’s smart, he works his tail off, he wants to be great. He could be as good, and I don’t even want to say as good as he wants to be, because I know he wants to be a great player. There is no ceiling for him. He could be one of the best of all time.”

After he proved himself capable of starting duties in his first full year in 2014, Terron Armstead has glued himself into a significant role — the man in charge of Drew Brees‘ blind side.  Already overlooked and undervalued, 2015 could be the year he becomes one of the top tackles in the National Football League.  He’s been playing lights out all summer long.

As for Brandin Cooks, this was obvious.  He’ll be eating up targets in 2015 with Jimmy Graham out of the picture, and could be well on his way to a 1,000 yard sophomore campaign.

With undeniable physical talent highlighted by speed and shiftiness, professionalism both on and off the field, a winner’s work ethic, and a clear readiness to handle his business, Cooks will be aiming for greatness with the starting job in his hands in 2015.  He was phenomenal throughout training camp and has been exceptional during the preseason.

Expect big things from both Terron Armstead and Brandin Cooks in 2015.  Maybe we’ll see players like Stephone Anthony and Hau’oli Kikaha in next year’s NFL 25 Under 25 rankings.

Next: Expect Brandin Cooks to amaze all season long

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