- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter
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Check out this Insider post that ranks all 32 teams based on the talent level of players 25 or younger on each roster. The Buccaneers come in at No. 7 and the Panthers are No. 8.
That’s not all that surprising. Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik has had some big hits (Gerald McCoy, Doug Martin and Lavonte David) in recent drafts and there still is hope that quarterback Josh Freeman and defensive end Da’Quan Bowers can emerge as stars.
Former Carolina general manager Marty Hurney gets bashed a lot for leaving the Panthers in difficult salary-cap shape. But he left the Panthers with a nice young nucleus that features quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Atlanta and New Orleans didn’t fare nearly as well in the under-25 rankings. That’s understandable because they’re veteran teams.
The Falcons rank No. 24. Aside from receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, the Falcons don’t have many young stars. The Saints are No. 29 and defensive end Cameron Jordan might be the closest thing they have to a young impact player.
You probably haven’t seen the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers in the top 10 of too many power rankings recently. But we’ve come across a very notable exception.