Dontari Poe one of NFL's top young players

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
12:45
PM ET
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- For those with ESPN Insider access, Mel Kiper Jr. and Mike Sando have posted an interesting ranking of the NFL's top 25 players under the age of 25. Nose tackle Dontari Poe was the only Kansas City Chiefs player to make the list, which also includes 23 players who received honorable mention. Poe was ranked seventh.

Poe
It's difficult to argue with the inclusion of Poe, 23, who last year developed into a consistently productive player. The 346-pound Poe was so valuable to the Chiefs that they rarely took him off the field in passing or running situations.

It should be disturbing to Chiefs fans that Kansas City has just one player on the ranking of the top 48 players under 25. One possible factor is that the Chiefs haven't had a second-round draft pick since 2012. They traded their second-rounder in each of the past two drafts to the San Francisco 49ers in return for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Chiefs also drafted a project with the first overall pick in 2013 when they selected Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher. Fisher, 23, had a rough rookie season but still projects as a solid left tackle. If he makes as much progress from his first season to his second that Poe did, Fisher should make this list next year.

Other young Chiefs players who could make the list next year are tight end Travis Kelce, 23, and linebacker Dee Ford, 23. The Chiefs have plans for Kelce in the passing game, and he could have a breakthrough season if he stays healthy. Ford should play in passing situations and showed promise as a pass rusher during offseason practice.

The list includes only players who are under 25. If it included players who are 25, linebacker Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry would have made the list.

Adam Teicher

ESPN Kansas City Chiefs reporter

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