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Ravens ranked last in AFC North in under-25 talent

It is funny how differently a roster can look to an outsider....

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Most fans of the Baltimore Ravens will agree that the future of the team is very bright. With players on their rookie contract at every position, the Ravens seem set to contend for a while. The offense has Kelechi Osemele, Rick Wagner, John Urschel, James Hurst, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Javorius Allen, Kyle Juszczyk, Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken, Darren Waller, Michael Campanaro, Marlon Brown, Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, and Nick Boyle. The Defense has C.J. Mosley, Courtney Upshaw, Zadarius Smith, Arthur Brown, Zach Orr, Timmy Jernigan, Brandon Williams, Carl Davis, KLM, Brent Urban, Lawrence Guy, Will Hill, Terrence Brooks, Kendrick LewisMatt Elam, Rashaan Melvin, Tray Walker and Anthony Levine. Not to mention stud kicker Justin Tucker. So with all that young talent on cheap deals, you would think the Ravens would rate highly on any list analyzing young talent.

Alas, this is not the case for Football Outsiders Under 25 Talent Power Rankings (Insider subscription required). The Ravens are toward the bottom of the list in these rankings, and last in their division. This would seem to conflict with the perception of the Ravens as having a deep roster loaded with talent. But the truth is, the ranking is actually accurate once you look at the data.

The reason: most of the Ravens top end talent listed above is 25 or 26 already. Once you remove Brandon Williams, Rick Wagner, Courtney Upshaw, Will Hill, Kelechi Osemele, Rashaan Melvin, Kendrick Lewis, Justin Tucker, and Kamar Aiken, you are suddenly left with a dearth of proven talent outside of C.J. Mosley and Timmy Jernigan. Players like Perriman, Gillmore, and Carl Davis are nice, but they have yet to do much at a professional level. Several others on the list have had trouble staying healthy. All in all, this leaves the under 25 list for the Ravens underwhelming.

However, this truly does not reflect anything about the Ravens. The team is still loaded with talent, for the most part home-grown, who are the foundation of a very talented 2015 team. Ozzie Newsome and his team have done a superb job building a balanced roster. And while it is not without concerns, what team in the league doesn't have them? One thing is for sure though, not having under-25 talent is really not important. The age is really arbitrary- a 25 year old rookie has the same 4 or 5 year cost efficient contract as a 20 year old rookie. This roster excites me, and having a slightly higher average age does not change that at all!