Will youth reign supreme for the Cleveland Browns in 2013?
According to data compiled by ESPN, the Browns have the youngest projected starting offense and the youngest projected starting defense in the NFL. On offense, that ranking would come despite having a 29-year old quarterback in Brandon Weeden. Weeden would actually be the oldest starter on offense. Currently, the rest of the ages are Trent Richardson 22, Josh Gordon 22, Greg Little 23, Mitchell Schwartz 23, Jordan Cameron 24, Owen Marecic 24, Jason Pinkston 25, Shawn Lauvao 25, Alex Mack 27, and Joe Thomas 28. The average age of the starters on offense would be 24.72 years old.
On defense, a projected lineup at this point could include Tashaun Gipson 22, James-Michael Johnson 23, Jabaal Sheard 24, Joe Haden 24, Buster Skrine 24, Phil Taylor 25, Ahtyba Rubin 26, T.J. Ward 26, Desmond Bryant 27, Paul Kruger 27, and D'Qwell Jackson 29. The average age of the starting defense would be 25.18 years old, just a little bit older than the offense.
Being young can present challenges, but it is also a way to sustain long-term success. In the overall rankings, the Seahawks, Packers, and Bengals are examples of teams who are ranked low on the age scale. Cleveland is more unique in the sense that both units are young, as opposed to just one or the other being young. St. Louis is the closest overall team to Cleveland in terms of age for starters.