The NFL moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
More so than any other sports league, young players can dominate in the NFL. In any given season, a rookie could lead the league in rushing and take his team to the playoffs. Or a second-year pro could be named Defensive Player of the Year. There is no waiting for a call-up from the minors in the NFL.
With that said, the New York Giants are in good hands with their next generation. Polling 43 of its reporters, analysts and former players, ESPN compiled the NFL's best under-25 starting lineup. Three Giants made the list – running back Saquon Barkley, tight end Evan Engram and safety Landon Collins – to trail only the Saints, who boasted four players.
Without playing a snap in the NFL, Barkley, the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, joined Todd Gurley of the Rams as the two running backs. They edged out the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott, who turns 23 on Sunday. Barkley was one of three players drafted this past April to make the list; Colts guard Quenton Nelson and Seahawks punter Michael Dickson were the others.
"A projection for the 21-year-old Barkley based off a sterling career at Penn State," ESPN NFL insider Field Yates wrote, "the Giants are hopeful that a skill set highlighted by an abundance of power, soft hands in the passing game and uncommon return skills will yield immediate returns. His polish on and off the field boosted his case as a can't-miss draft prospect."
The next two Giants have already picked up real accolades in their NFL careers. Evan Engram, who was named to the Professional Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team in 2017, represented the tight ends, and two-time Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins made up an all-New York defensive backfield with Jamal Adams of the Jets.
"The reality of some NFL offenses is that tight ends are asked to serve frequently in a detached alignment, working in a slot role that requires immense athletic skills," Yates wrote. "Engram, 23, is in some ways a jumbo wide receiver, firmly cementing his spot as a bright spot in the Giants' offense as a rookie."
On Collins, Yates wrote: "Collins, 24, almost immediately emerged into a leadership role for the Giants. He's a check-the-box safety, with the ability to do almost any task asked of him. He'll make you remember his hits too, with excellent playing strength."
For the rest of ESPN's best under-25 starting lineup, click here.