It’s been a few days now since the roster has been trimmed and tweaked, and so we can probably assume that at least this is the 53-man roster that the Pittsburgh Steelers will carry into the season opener.
With that in mind, I wanted to do a bit of analysis of some of the roster’s aspects in itself, in terms of personnel, pedigree, experience, age, and means of acquisition. Having already looked at the means of acquisition and pedigree, today I want to set my sights on how the roster is constructed by age.
I am basing this simply on the players’ age number as of the day of this writing, to be clear, and not factoring in whether or not somebody’s birthday is in a month. This should provide us with a pretty accurate view of the age of the roster without getting into too much depth.
Taking on the full 53-man roster, the average age of the Steelers’ roster right now checks in at 26.5 years of age. This is certainly not the ‘old and slow’ roster of a half-decade ago. Overall, they have a pretty young team, especially after parting with some aging starters such as Heath Miller, Steve McLendon, and Shaun Suisham. Accounting for Le’Veon Bell and Ladarius Green as a 55-player body would see the average age dip just a bit, since Bell is 24.
Taking just the offense into account, that side of the ball is actually a bit longer in the tooth at the moment, as their cumulative average age is now 26.9 years. This is about the average age of the starting offensive line, or at least not too far off the mark. All other position groups have a good mixture of youth and a veteran presence.
The average age of the Steelers’ 26 defensive plays on the roster checks in at a full year younger, coming in at 25.8, rounded down from 25.845. This is a reflections of the team’s heavy investment in defensive players over the past few draft classes.
The average age on special teams is 28. Not very interesting. Their kicker and punter are 25. Long snapper is the old-timer, 34, tied for second-oldest on the roster.
Now comes the most important and most interesting category: the average age of the starting lineup. The Steelers were trending younger for a couple years, but the core of this group has been maturing together for a couple years now.
Offensively, I am projecting of course a starting lineup out of the 11 personnel package, and I am projecting Eli Rogers as the third receiver. With these parameters, the starting defense that will see the opener will reflect an average age of 27.5. But when Bell returns, that will lower to 26.8, obviously with Ben Roethlisberger at 34 accounting for the bulk of that.
Defensively, the nickel defense is the projected ‘starting’ unit, and for now, Sean Davis is projected as the fifth defensive back. The defense’s average age comes in at 26.4 years, and William Gay and Lawrence Timmons are the only two over 30.
Here is a quick rundown of the team’s age-related statistics:
Average Age of Roster: 26.5
Average Age of Offense: 26.9
Average Age of Defense: 25.8
Average Age of Special Teams: 28
Average Age of Starting Offense: 27.5
Average Age of Starting Defense: 26.4
This clearly is not an old roster. In fact, it is overall pretty young, with only four starters on offense and defense who are at least 30, those being Ramon Foster and Roethlisberger on offense, and Gay and Timmons on defense. DeAngelo Williams, however, is factored into the starting lineup for now, and he is 33.
As you can see in the data, the backups on both sides of the ball skew a bit younger than the starters, and that is notable especially on defense with James Harrison at 38 among that group of backups.