There are a handful of NFL athletes on the fast track to the Hall of Fame despite being relatively new to the league. Most of them seemingly needed no time to adjust, they broke out and played on the level with the elites at their position from their very first snap. You can tell there is something special about them by the way they play.
Calling young players “Hall of Famers” is almost a taboo subject among fans. To make it to the Hall of Fame, players need to dominate the NFL for the better part of their careers. They need to make their mark on the league; something that takes a lot of time to do.
Yet, some players come in and play like they've been around for years. Just watching them you get the feel that they're going to make it to the Hall no matter what. You can call it by the way they play, there's a certain swagger to their game. They check every box on the "Future Hall of Famer" checklist except the one marked "Age." Denying these players the tag isn't about waiting to see if they really deserve it. It's a formality.
It's important to define what a "Young" player is. While some 2012 picks are on their fifth year option, the vast majority have signed or are going to sign new deals for the 2016 season. As a result, only players drafted in or after 2013 will qualify.
Here are the top 15 players destined for the Hall of Fame.
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15 Mike Evans
Mike Evans is one of the most physical wide outs in the NFL. His 6'5" - 228 frame certainly gives him an edge against his opponents. He was one of several rookies to break the 1000 receiving yards mark in 2014. He also managed to tie Odell Beckham for most receiving touchdowns among rookies with 12.
Evans still has a lot of room to improve. It isn't often that you can watch a player dominate his opponents and still be able to clearly see areas of improvement. Evans is a great player right now and he's only going to get better.
14 Tyler Eifert
Tyler Eifert was drafted late in the first round of 2013. His first year was modest and his second was ended almost instantly with a nasty elbow injury.
2015 was his year though. He took full advantage of it and crushed his competition. He piled up 13 touchdowns is 13 games, making himself a prime red zone target. He's a player that moves the chains and keeps drives going when they shouldn't.
Providing Eifert can stay healthy, it's hard to see him ever slowing down.
13 Travis Frederick
Dallas has been committed to building one of the greatest offensive lines in the NFL, something no one will ever let you forget. Travis Fredrick was a heavily criticized pick due to many feeling he was more of a mid round prospect.
But Fredrick has been one of the best centers in the NFL and has been vital to his team's talented line. The 2013 pick out of the University of Wisconsin has earned two Pro Bowls as well as two second team All Pro selections.
12 Kawann Short
In 2013, the Panthers loaded up on defensive tackles, selecting Star Lotulelei in the first round and Kawann Short in the second. To this point, the Perdue product has outperformed the 14th overall pick. That isn't meant to be a shot at Lotulelei, he's certainly been a very good player through his career thus far. Short has just been on another level.
Short had his true breakout season this past year, compiling 11 sacks and three forced fumbles. He earned a second team All Pro selection was well as a trip to the Pro Bowl.
11 Anthony Barr
Going into the 2014 Draft, Anthony Barr was considered a very raw prospect. In 2015, he was named an All Pro by Pro Football Focus as well as earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. The risky player has paid off in spades for Minnesota. Coming into the NFL, many felt he would struggle in coverage, but he has done surprisingly well in that area. It's hard to find a clear weakness in Barr's game.
The 2014 Draft is looking very good for the Vikings. Getting a star in their front seven, as well as finding their quarterback of the future.
10 Sheldon Richardson
3-4 defensive end is perhaps the hardest position on defense to make a name for yourself, but Sheldon Richardson has done that. He was named Defensive Rookie of the Year despite having a modest 3.5 sacks in 2013. It's not that he wasn't absolutely deserving of the award, but when it comes to the NFL and awards it's typically the players with the nicest stats that get them. With Ziggy Ansah getting to the quarterback eight times his rookie year, it shows how much Richardson was able to dominate outside of the stat sheet. The 2013 pick is a force on the most talented 3-4 defensive line in the NFL.
9 Allen Robinson
Allen Robinson is a star player that largely flies under the radar, unless you're playing fantasy football. He finished sixth in total receiving yards in 2015 with exactly 1,400 yards, in addition to tying Brandon Marshall and Doug Baldwin for receiving touchdowns at 14.
The Penn State product is among the very best receivers in his incredibly talented draft class. Jacksonville undoubtedly got a steal in the late second round.
8 Zack Martin
Taking a guard midway through the first round in a deep draft has paid off well for the 'boys. Zack Martin took no time to adjust to the NFL and has made himself a household name, a very rare accomplishment for an interior lineman. Though, playing for the Dallas Cowboys makes that a bit easier.
In his short career thus far, Martin has earned a first team All Pro selection, a second team All Pro selection, and two Pro Bowls. He figures to be a rock that the Cowboys will be able to rely upon for a very long while.
7 Tyrann Mathieu
Tyrann Mathieu was a third round selection in 2013. Scouts were concerned with his character as well as how well his college play making ability would translate to the professional level. The result was Arizona getting a third round steal and a foundation piece for their secondary that has a good case for being considered one of the NFL's best very early into his career.
Mathieu earned his first AP All Pro selection this past year after grabbing five interceptions. An unfortunate injury kept the star out of the playoffs however.
Tyrann Mathieu is a talent that fans of any team can enjoy watching.
6 Todd Gurley II
With the first round running back becoming increasingly uncommon, an injured Todd Gurley II still managed to be taken in the top ten in 2015. It takes a very special player to be deserving of something like that.
Gurley had a lot of hype and expectations going into the 2015 season and he still managed to exceed all of it. He earned the 2015 Rookie of the Year award after compiling 1,100 rushing yards in 12 games, as well as scoring 10 touchdowns.
At this stage, Gurley looks like a true corner stone player for the Los Angeles Rams offense moving forward.
5 Le'Veon Bell
Le'Veon Bell has been a stand out all-around running back since being taken in the second round of the 2013 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bell's shiftiness, power, and receiving ability are unparalleled in the NFL.
Bell can truly be used anywhere on offense. Usually players who are touted as being versatile enough to play multiple offensive positions fail to actually play any position well. But Bell truly excels anywhere you put him.
Bell had the chance this past year to establish himself as the premier NFL running back. An unfortunate injury put a delay on that early on in the 2015 season. Fans should expect Bell to pick everything back up where he started in 2016.
4 Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack was a first team All Pro in 2015. He set the Oakland Raiders record for sacks in a game with five this past year and finished with 15 on the season. The edge rusher has the talent and natural abilities to excel as a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. He's a versatile player who will dominate his opponent no matter what his coaches ask him to do.
Oakland is still working on their rebuild, but as it stands they have a very nice core of young talents that will shortly be the envy of the NFL.
3 DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the NFL. The Clemson product has proven to be on par with elites such as Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham and anyone else you could name. Not many people instantly think of him as one of the top level receivers but he's absolutely deserving. No receiver in the NFL has done more with less. Only the very best receivers can dominate with as much instability at quarterback as the Texans have had.
2 Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014, first team All Pro in 2015, and went to the Pro Bowl both years. The Rams defensive tackle is among the most physically gifted and technically sound players in the NFL. Donald is a standout player on a defense that's filled with stars.
J.J. Watt might have been crowned by fans as the most dominate defensive player in the NFL, but Donald is going to start giving him a run for his money.
1 Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham has dominated the NFL since coming into the league in 2014. He earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2014, second team All Pro in 2015, and has two Pro Bowl selections to top it off. Beckham is the crown jewel in one of the deepest drafts the NFL has seen in a while. It only took a few games into his rookie year before many started throwing his name in with the elite wideouts. He's busted out into the NFL and played at a level beyond his competition; earning all of the praise he's gotten.
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