After taking a look at the ages of starting cornerbacks around the NFL on Monday, I was curious enough to go through every position across the league and find the average age at each position, and see how the Steelers compare.
Here are the results in the form of a fancy chart, going from oldest to youngest. The NFL average is in black, the Steelers are in gold.
First, the averages…
And now, the median ages…
It shouldn’t be a surprise that running backs are the youngest position (by a nice margin) across the league, or that the four youngest positions at running back, wide receiver, cornerback and safety. It also isn’t a shocking revelation that the Steelers are quite the veteran team, coming in below the NFL average at only quarterback, center, running back and guard.
The Steelers are getting long in the tooth in many key areas (like, say, the defense), but they have a number young players and recent draft picks that will hopefully be ready to take over for some of these veterans in the near future.
- Hines Ward brings up the average age of the Steelers receivers, but the rest of the group consists of Mike Wallace (24), Emmanuel Sanders (24), Antonio Brown (22) and, for the optimists in the house, Limas Sweed (26).
- The age of the Steelers defensive line was a hot topic around draft time when they used their first-round pick on Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward, which was the second time in the past three years they’ve used their top pick on a defensive end (Ziggy Hood in 2009). If all goes according to plan, the transition from Brett Kiesel and Aaron Smith to Hood and Heyward should be a smooth one.
- We talked about cornerbacks on Monday, and while the Steelers haven’t invested early picks in the position, they have selected four in the past three years, including two (Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen) this year.
- James Harrison and James Farrior are older, but LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons are still on the young side, even though they’re both getting ready to enter their fifth year in the league. Jason Worilds, Chris Carter and Stevenson Sylvester were all drafted in the past two classes.
- Rashard Mendenhall, entering his fourth year, is also significantly below the average. I suppose this is one of the advantages to putting such a heavy emphasis on youth early in the draft. The Steelers early draft picks are typically between the ages of 20-22 on draft day, and a lot of times underclassmen.
The development of a lot of these guys (particularly players like Sanders, Antonio Brown, Heyward, Hood, Curtis Brown, Allen, and Worilds) could be a large factor in the long-term success of the Steelers organization.