“They’ve got a young and exciting group...”
“There’s a great veteran presence in the room...”
We’ve all heard both of these things in regards to player positions in the NFL. Which aspect is more important, youth or experience? While a particular position could be an important factor, many times it’s the issue of “what you have is what you would like.”
Regardless of your preference, let’s take a look as to how much experience each position group for the Steelers brings to the table. For this exercise, I included players who were on the 53 man roster in 2018 who are still on the team, drafted rookies, and signed free agents with at least one year of NFL experience. I know all of these players may not make the 53-man roster, but it’s a starting point.
Additionally, the years experience for each player is what year the player will be going into in 2019. For example, Devin Bush will be going into his first year, Terrell Edmunds will be going into his second year, and Ben Roethlisberger will be going into his 16th year. In each circumstance, I added all the years experience of the players in each group and divided by the number of players. Here were the results, from the greatest to least:
Even with the second and third quarterbacks on the team still on their rookie deals, Ben Roethlisberger’s 16 years of experience puts quarterbacks on the top of the list.
Defensive Line: 6.00
With Cam Heyward’s nine seasons and Tyson Alualu’s ten, the defensive line has a strong veteran presence in the locker room.
Offensive Line: 5.10
Although there is constantly a cycle of new guys coming in, the interior starters have a total of almost 30 years experience going into 2019.
Are Berry and Boswell really going into their fifth seasons? It doesn’t seem like they’ve been around this long.
Inside Linebacker: 4.20
While Williams and Barron give a good veteran presence, drafting two rookies at the position infuses youth, but brings down the overall experience factor.
After Joe Haden‘s 10 years of experience, the next closest corner is newly signed Steven Nelson with five.
Tight End: 4.00
With only three qualifying players and one being a rookie, experience seems to be lacking in the tight end room. Don’t be surprised if the Steelers make a move at this position before the start of 2019.
Wide Receiver: 3.29
Dontae Moncrief is the most experienced of the group going into his sixth year. The group is young and energetic, but are they missing veteran leader ship?
Outside Linebacker: 3.20
Nobody on the squad has more than five years experience going into 2019. But with Pro Bowler T.J. Watt leading the way, youth is a good thing to have.
Running Back: 2.80
It’s one of the shortest-lived positions in the NFL. And the Steelers only have one running back who is going into more than his third year in fullback Roosevelt Nix. Take him out of the group, and the average experience is 2.25 years.
What is shocking about safety being the least experienced group for the Steelers is they have a no rookies currently factoring into this number. With Sean Davis in a contract year and Terrell Edmunds hopefully making a second-year jump, this is an exciting young group to watch.
So which group best fits the mold of what you desire between youth experience for the 2019 Steelers? Which group needs to be getting younger or needs more experience? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.