Numbers, Damn Numbers: A Quick Look At The Steelers Post-Draft Roster

By Jeremy Hritz

Note: This was submitted prior to the Wednesday release of Chad Spann and Antonio Smith

With the 2012 NFL Draft in the books, the Pittsburgh Steelers roster is nearly set for training camp. Although a few nondescript cuts and signings may take place in between now and late July, the names on the roster look to stay the same. On steelers.com, the current roster of players can now be accessed (though the ages of some players are not yet provided). I decided to take a closer look at the roster and to see what information I could glean from the provided information related to position, age, and university. The results are quite interesting.

Currently, there are 92 players listed on the Steelers roster, 40 defensive players, 47 offensive players, and 5 specialists. There is a tie for the position with the most players: 15 total defensive backs (safety, corner) and 15 offensive lineman (guard, tackle, center). It is no surprise that the Steelers have stocked the positions for camp that have proved to be the Achilles heel over the last few season. It is also no shock that the positions with the fewest players are specialists (kicker, punter, long snapper) with five and quarterbacks with six.

Number of Players Position

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# of players67151271213155

Several young players have been added to the team through the draft and through rookie free agency, and this has had an impact on the average ages of players. The youngest position on the team is the running back position at 23.8 years of age. This year, Steelers’ running backs have an average of 2.28 years experience in the NFL. The most experienced position is quarterback, with an average age of 29.8 and an average of 7.8 years of experience.

The average age overall for a Steelers player is 25.15, with 4.26 years of experience. Also, the average ages for offensive and defensive players are close, with offensive players coming in at 25.1 years of age with 3.8 years of experience, while defensive players are 25.8 years of age with 4.5 years of experience. While many critics of the Steelers last year argued that the defense was too old, the average age of a defensive starter this year, assuming Cortez Allen starts opposite Ike Taylor, is 29.5 years of age. While the numbers say the defense is a bit long in the tooth, they also say they are long in experience, with each starter having 8.36 years of experience. Undoubtedly, experience ensures leadership, and there will be no shortage of it this year.

PositionYears ExperienceAverage Age
DB4.725.8
LB4.425.2
DL4.326.5
OL3.824.7
QB7.829.8
RB2.2823.8
WR2.824.1
TE3.825
Specials727.25

I also took a brief look at where the current Steelers played their collegiate football. There are three NCAA teams that have each produced four current Steelers: Florida, Ohio State, and West Virginia. There are also three teams that have each produced three current Steelers: Texas A&M, Texas, and Georgia. 16 current Steelers hail from the SEC, while 13 current Steelers hail from the Big Ten Conference.

Lastly, with all of the excitement generated in the draft about the offensive line, I took a quick look at the average weight of an offensive lineman on the roster, and unsurprisingly, it comes in at a robust 315 pounds. Upon examination of the predicted starting offensive line next year (Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Willie Colon), the average weight of a starter stands at 316.8, only 1.8 pounds higher than the average. Though Casey Hampton has been forever known as the “Big Snack” at 325, the main course (or the heaviest player) on the team is new nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu who rolls into Pittsburgh at 348 pounds.

This year’s roster is a nice blend of experienced veterans and hungry youth which will make for a competitive camp come July, and without question, the roster as it stands now will change forms many times as those that can play separate themselves from those that cannot in Latrobe. The countdown to camp is on…