FanPost

Here's looking at youth, kid


In an article by Mike Sando of ESPN, he charts all 32 teams and the age of their rosters.  Being the NFC West blogger for ESPN, he focuses on them, but the chart shows just where all the NFC South teams are and it is actually quite interesting.

 

As we should all know, the Buccaneers are the youngest team in the NFL.  They have the youngest offense, defense and overall roster.  The Carolina Panthers are also extremely young, being the 3rd youngest roster in the NFL (the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers are the 2nd youngest).  The Atlanta Falcons are in the middle of the pack at 16th.  The interesting thing to note on the charting though is the New Orleans Saints.  The Saints rank as the 2nd oldest team in the NFL (the Detroit Lions are the oldest overall team).

 

So, what does all this mean?  Well, probably nothing other than there are some teams that are gonna have to bring in new players at some point to infuse some youth as players get older, injured, retire, etc. and other teams are looking at having the players on their teams for quite a while as they grow and learn.  Transitioning from older players to younger ones can be a tricky thing though, even for good teams.  If the Saints can't find replacements for their aging players that can instantly step in and be as good as the older guy, they will suffer a decline in production.  At least until those players gain the experience needed to succeed.

The Saints, being one of the oldest, are going to see the most significant issues with this sooner rather than later.  Having been one of the front-runners in the NFC South the past few years, this could be a sign they may be sliding down in the division in the coming years.  That leaves an opening for the youngest team in the NFL (the Bucs) to move up a notch.  Contributing to the Saints struggles will be the fact they gave away their 1st round draft choice next year to get Mark Ingram in this year's draft, but the team didn't really get much younger.  With over half their roster having been in the league 5 years or more (5 with 10+ years), and the average career in the NFL being 3.5 years, they'll need to revamp a significant portion of their roster over the next few years, which could change their ability to succeed.

 

Of course, our Bucs currently have a load of "potential", but we don't know how far that will go.  Again, looking at the chart, the Packers won the Super Bowl with one of the youngest rosters, so it's possible to go a long way with this potential roster.  The Saints, Steelers, and Patriots are among the oldest rosters, so experience can count for something.  It's not definitive though, as the Lions, Cardinals, and Redskins also have "experienced" rosters and haven't done much with them.

 

So, what's all this really saying?  Who knows really, because both young and old teams have success.  Some teams are very good at balancing youth and experience, infusing just enough youth to balance the age and experience to stay consistently in the race.  Young players do not always meet their potential, so that's always a risk, but if talent evaluation is good then the team could be a contender for a long time.  At this point, only time will tell if our route of "going young" is the right way or not.  As we see more of these young guys play, we'll get a better idea of which players were good picks, and which weren't.  At that point, with a roster getting another year older, we can look at maybe, finally getting a free agent to step in... or going young again by drafting more "potential".

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