It wasn’t long ago that Warren Sapp chided the Pittsburgh Steelers for being too old. Fast forward to today and while the team isn’t hitting the fountain of youth, they’re as young as ever.
Jimmy Kempski over at the Philly Voice has been tracking roster age since 2013. Based on his data collection, the Steelers have the youngest opening roster over that span, an average age of 25.9. Here’s their average age and league rank year-by-year.
2013 – 26.5 (23rd)
2014 – 26.3 (18th)
2015 – 26.6 (26th)
2016 – 26.3 (24th)
2017 – 26.1 (18th)
2018 – 25.9 (16th)
That’s the first time the Steelers have dipped under 26 and their highest ranking, sitting squarely in the middle of the pack. Of course, no longer having James Harrison on the roster goes a long way to helping that number out.
But there’s certainly a strong youth movement occurring too. Four players are 21 or young; UDFA Ola Adeniyi is the baby of the roster, not turning 21 for a couple more days. JuJu Smith-Schuster is still only 21. Ditto for rookies Terrell Edmunds and Chukwuma Okorafor.
Those players included, 15 Steelers on the roster are 23 or younger. Compare that to only six who are at least 30, a stark contrast to prior years. Those six are: Antonio Brown, Marcus Gilbert, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Tyson Alualu, Ramon Foster, and Ben Roethlisberger.
The AFC North has two of the youngest squads. The Cincinnati Bengals come in first with an average age of 25.1. The Cleveland Browns are right behind them at 25.3, sitting in the top two spots for the third straight ear.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise for who the oldest roster is. Jon Gruden’s Raiders, the only team above 27, coming in at 27.4. But right now, age is their least of their problems after dealing away their best player and the debacle that was the Martavis Bryant trade.