The Cleveland Browns having a young roster is no surprise to anyone. Sometimes the age of a roster can be a little misleading because it doesn’t actually show who is actually playing in games.
The vast majority of teams believe in building their team through the draft. Even the Los Angeles Rams, famous for “F them picks,” have 10 selections in the upcoming draft. Young players are cheaper, less likely to get injured, have more upside and are, generally, more athletic than veterans.
The assumption is that rebuilding teams will be young and then become older as they become successful. To some extent, that is probably true but this year’s season presented some interesting data when we look at the age of players that actually took snaps:
Meant to post this: these are the full snap-weighted age rankings for each team this season on offense, defense, and overall. Saints were the oldest team in the league, Lions the youngest. pic.twitter.com/PYVVZkvdH1— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) January 19, 2023
Overall the Browns are the fourth youngest team in the NFL. Interestingly, they are the youngest team on the defensive side of the ball where they struggled mightily.
It is interesting to look at the top and bottom of the list. None of the top five oldest teams had winning records and made the playoffs this year. At the bottom of the list, one of the five youngest teams made the playoffs, the New York Giants, and actually won a playoff game. The Kansas City Chiefs, a staple in the playoffs, is the seventh youngest team overall.
Based on the data, it seems that age doesn’t provide a lot of information about whether a team is going to be successful but that being around the middle might be most helpful. That makes sense, a balance of players on rookie contracts, high-priced talented veterans and older, wiser veterans on cheaper contracts is a good mix.
Cleveland needs to add a few more of those older, wiser veterans to their roster but, hopefully, not require them to carry the load at any one position.