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Jets' D-line, Jaguars' WRs among best young position groups

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Viewers checking in to Sunday's matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars in London will see one of the best young receiving duos in the NFL.

Jaguars receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are both on pace to easily top the 1,000-yard mark this season, something no Jacksonville player has done since Jimmy Smith in 2005 -- when Robinson and Hurns were 12 and 14 years old, respectively. In fact, both players are barely older than the 22-year-old Jaguars franchise itself.

Thinking about the Jaguars' youth-oriented wide receiver corps got me thinking about other position groups around the NFL that skew young -- thus, below, you can find my ranking of the position groups with the best young talent. A note: to qualify, a position group has to be dominated by players who are 25 years old or younger at publishing -- that is to say, a particular group can incorporate older players, but the youngsters should clearly be front and center.

1) New York Jets' defensive line

The youngsters: DT Sheldon Richardson (24 years old), DL Muhammad Wilkerson (25), DE Leonard Williams (21).

Without question, this group of young players belongs on top. With their help, the Jets rank first in overall defense and second in both pass and run defense. Williams is a versatile guy who gives great effort and sheds blockers like a veteran. Wilkerson (four sacks, three passes defensed, one forced fumble) is probably most effective as a pass-rusher; he's very hard to block with his mix of speed and athletic ability. Richardson -- the team's sack king last year with eight -- just returned from a four-game suspension. He's a Warren Sapp-type player who wins with quickness and strength.

Yes, there are other good players in this rotation, but these three former first-round picks are the stars -- they make it special.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars' receiver corps

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The youngsters: Allen Hurns (23), Marqise Lee (23), Allen Robinson (22).

Hurns and Robinson have really surprised me, taking huge leaps forward after solid rookie seasons. Robinson, who missed six games last year with a stress fracture in his foot, is having an unbelievable 2015 (28 catches, 488 yards and five scores). He's a big target with good hands who's faster than he looks and makes a lot of clutch catches. All in all, I see Pro Bowl potential. Hurns was an undrafted free agent who raised eyebrows in 2014 with 677 yards and six scores. He doesn't have all-out speed, but he does have good hands and concentration skills, and he can catch the ball in a crowd.

Robinson and Hurns have had a huge impact on Blake Bortles, who has made strides in 2015. Quarterback and receiver growth goes hand-in-hand, of course, but when you have two guys who can catch the ball like that, it makes you a much better signal caller. Building chemistry and trust -- just knowing those guys can make plays -- surely has given Bortles more confidence.

Lee has dealt with injury issues this year and hasn't contributed much, but I thought he was a first-round talent as a rookie last year and could still be a factor.

3) Cincinnati Bengals' running backs

The youngsters: Giovani Bernard (23), Jeremy Hill (23).

It's rare to have two running backs on one team who could each succeed as a starter, but that's what the Bengals have in Bernard and Hill. Last season, Hill (222 carries, 1,124 yards, nine rushing touchdowns) out-produced Bernard (168 carries, 680 yards, five rushing touchdowns) on the ground. This season, that split has been reversed, with Bernard (77 carries, 427 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns) out-doing Hill (74 carries, 232 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns). Either way, the Bengals' 10th-ranked running attack has contributed to the team's 6-0 start.

Bernard (5-foot-9, 205 pounds) is a compact guy, but he's probably a better all-purpose back in that he can catch the ball well -- a Tony Dorsett type. Hill, who can also catch, is a big, strong guy with speed. He might have put on a few extra pounds this season, as he doesn't look quite as quick as he did last year, but I'm not worried about him, just because he has great ability. His game is suited to colder weather, when it's harder to pass, and I could see him picking things up as the season goes along. After all, 929 of his yards in 2014 came after Week 8.

4) Dallas Cowboys' offensive line

The youngsters: LG La'el Collins (22), C Travis Frederick (24), RG Zack Martin (24), LT Tyron Smith (24).

Smith is an athletic tackle who has long arms and excellent footwork -- it's hard to believe the All-Pro player, who is in his fifth NFL season, is actually a few weeks younger than Martin. Collins has played both guard and tackle, and I think the Cowboys realized he could step in and help their line right away at left guard. Frederick might be the smartest player in football -- he's versatile and never misses his assignments. Martin started right away, becoming the first Cowboys rookie in 45 years to earn All-Pro honors.

I can't remember the last unit to feature three players picked in the first round within four years, with all three players going to the Pro Bowl in the same year (2014). Of course, as good as the unit is, the best line in the world won't win without having someone to block for and protect, as illustrated by the struggles of this 2-3 squad (which ranks 17th in passing offense and 18th in rushing offense) without Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray.

5) St. Louis Rams' running backs

The youngsters: Benny Cunningham (25), Todd Gurley (21), Tre Mason (22).

What Gurley has done -- posting 146 and 159 yards in his first two career starts less than a year after suffering an ACL tear -- is unbelievable, especially when you look at St. Louis' offensive line, which includes two rookie starters (Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown), a new starting center (Tim Barnes) and a left tackle (Greg Robinson) who eventually will be good but isn't there yet. Gurley is an exceptional player: powerful, elusive, strong, fast and smart. He'll also pass-protect, too; he's not just a one-trick pony. Mason is a change-of-pace guy, and Cunningham is a good kickoff return man, but Gurley is truly something special.

Receiver Tavon Austin (24) isn't a running back, of course, but he is the Rams' second-leading rusher, with 99 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and is thus a factor in the ground game. The former first-round pick is tiny (5-foot-8, 176 pounds) but has blazing speed, and he presents a serious matchup problem. St. Louis will use him in the Wildcat and run him in reverses; simply lining him up in the backfield causes issues for opponents.

6) Arizona Cardinals' secondary

The youngsters: CB Justin Bethel (25), S Deone Bucannon (23), S Tony Jefferson (23), S Tyrann Mathieu (23), CB Patrick Peterson (25).

Jerraud Powers (28) and Rashad Johnson (29) play key roles, but this secondary is dominated by youngsters. Peterson, a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, is in the same neighborhood as Darrelle Revis in terms of being one of the best corners in the NFL. He's a big, fast guy with long arms and great anticipation -- he just does everything well. Mathieu is the toughest little blond-haired guy I've ever met in my life. He's not the biggest or fastest, but he knows what his opponents are going to do before they do it, and he possesses great ball skills. Jefferson lacks speed, but plays hard and has a great feel for his position. Bucannon functions more like a linebacker than a safety, making a ton of tackles up on the line, but he can cover when needed. Bethel is a complementary piece with a knack for big plays.

The Cardinals are the NFL's top scoring team, with a robust point differential of 88 -- and their league-leading 11 interceptions, including three pick-sixes, have played a big part in that. Johnson leads the team with three picks, but the young players in the secondary -- Peterson has two picks and Mathieu has two, including one touchdown, while Jefferson and Bethel each have a pick-six -- definitely have pulled their weight. Finally, Arizona's defensive backs have contributed an astounding number of tackles -- including a team-high 42 from Bucannon, 36 from Mathieu and 31 from Jefferson -- and five of the team's seven forced fumbles (two from Jefferson and one each from Bucannon, Mathieu and Bethel).

ALSO CONSIDERED: Atlanta Falcons' running backs (Devonta Freeman, 23; Tevin Coleman, 22), Buffalo Bills' secondary (Ronald Darby, 21; Stephon Gilmore, 25; Nickell Robey, 23; Bacarri Rambo, 25), Green Bay Packers receivers (Davante Adams, 22; Randall Cobb, 25; Ty Montgomery, 22).

Wake up and watch with the world. The NFL is live on Yahoo. For the first time ever the NFL is streaming a live game on Yahoo. Bills vs. Jaguars live from London, Sunday, October 25th, at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter @Gil_Brandt.

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