Even though they chose not bring back defensive starters James Harrison, Casey Hampton and Keenan Lewis this off-season, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense still ranks as the oldest in the league, according to a study done on all 32 teams by Mike Sando of ESPN.com.
While Sando doesn\’t give the average age for the offensive or defensive units of each team, it\’s not hard to figure out that the average age of the Steelers projected starters on defense in 2013 is 29.2. That really isn\’t that surprising being as five of those 11 players, Troy Polamalu (32), Larry Foote (32), Ike Taylor (33), Ryan Clark (33) and Brett Keisel (34) are all 32 years old or older.
However, on the other side of the football it\’s a different story, as Sando has the Steelers starting offense ranked the third youngest in the league now that Max Starks, Willie Colon, Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace are no longer in Pittsburgh. With Starks now gone, Ben Roethlisberger officially becomes the oldest starter on offense at the ripe old age of 31.
As I previously noted in a post last weekend, the Steelers started their first OTA session of the 2013 season this past week without 15 players that were on their 2012 roster. So despite their defense still being the oldest in the league, the youth movement is certainly well underway In Pittsburgh.
The defense will likely get even younger in 2014 should Clark and Keisel, both of whom are entering the final years of their current contract, are not retained. In addition, both Taylor and Foote could quite possibly be playing their final seasons in Pittsburgh. Assuming Polamalu is allowed to play out the final year of his contract in 2014, he figures to be the only starter on defense over the age of 30.
|2013 Projected Starter Age Rankings Per ESPN.com|