NFL.com recently released a 2021 All-Under-25 Team, and Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson made the roster. It made us here at detroitlions.com think about the young talent on the Lions roster, and what players under 25 we should be keeping an eye on.
Here is my list of five players under 25 years old Lions fans should be excited about:
1. Tight end T.J Hockenson, 24 years old
Hockenson had a breakout second season in 2020, earning his first Pro Bowl nod after catching 67 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns. Hockenson and quarterback Jared Goff have built a really nice rapport this offseason, and Hockenson is hungry to join the NFL's elite at the position. Lions tight ends coach Ben Johnson said this offseason 'there's plenty of meat still on the bone,' when it comes to Hockenson heading into his third season.
2. Running back D’Andre Swift, 22 years old
Swift rushed for 521 yards (4.6 average) with eight touchdowns and added 46 receptions for 357 yards and a couple more scores during his rookie campaign, while not starting his first game until Week 9 and missing three games due to injury. Swift's been really dynamic in the passing game this offseason, becoming a favorite target of Goff's. Swift and Jamaal Williams are expected to be a dynamic one-two punch in Detroit's backfield. Swift's future looks really bright.
3. Punter Jack Fox, 24 years old
Fox's first NFL season saw him become just the third punter in franchise history to earn a Pro Bowl nod. Fox finished third in the NFL in gross punting average (49.1) and his net punting average (44.8) was second best. He pinned 26 punts inside the opponent 20-yard line and had three punts of 65-plus yards. He is the first punter in team history to record a punt of 65-or-more yards in consecutive games. He is also the first punter in team history with multiple punts of at least 67 yards in the same season. He currently holds the NFL record for gross and net punting average through a player's first 50 punts.
4. Guard Jonah Jackson, 24 years old
Jackson was a rock for the Lions upfront last season playing in all 16 games (1,006 snaps) while moving between the right and left side where needed. Jackson allowed five sacks and committed five penalties. Players typically take their biggest leap in development between their first to second seasons, and Jackson is entering 2021 with the stability of knowing he's playing left guard between two really good veterans in left tackle Taylor Decker and Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow.
5. Tackle Penei Sewell, 20 years old
It may be a stretch to add Sewell to this list before he's even played a snap in the NFL, but there are few tackles that have come into the league with a better resume than Sewell. He was Pro Football Focus' highest graded tackle of all time in 2019, and there were few talent evaluators who had a bad thing to say about Sewell's game. He's going to plug in at right tackle for the Lions, and should solidify their offensive line. He's big, fast, and smart, and he impressed Lions coaches and teammates with his on-field performance in OTAs and minicamp this offseason.