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Deconstructing Patriots roster by age, 2014 edition

06.25.14 at 10:00 pm ET
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Tracking the overall age of the Patriots roster is something we’ve done a few times over the last couple of years, and with New England now between the spring workout sessions and training camp, it’s a good a time as any to measure the state of the current Patriots roster, which sits at 90 players. It’s important to remember that these numbers will change between now and the start of the regular season — the team-building process will inevitably bring some shuffling of personnel, while the roster has to be cut from 90 to 53 prior to the start of the year.

As for how these numbers stack up against the rest of the league, if our abacus holds up over the next few days, we should have an answer for you soon. But as it stands right now, here are a few things that stand out about the New England roster from an age perspective:

– The current average age of the Patriots roster is 25.3 years old — the same total at this time last year. Here’s a breakdown by position:

3 quarterbacks — average age: 28
(Last May — average age: 28)

5 tight ends — average age: 24
Last May — average age: 25)

14 offensive linemen — average age: 25.7
(Last May — average age: 26)

8 running backs — average age: 23.5
(Last May — average age: 25)

11 wide receivers — average age: 24.8
(Last May — average age: 25)

4 special teamers — average age: 25.25
(Last May — average age: 25)

6 cornerbacks — average age: 25.8
(Last May — average age: 25)

11 defensive backs — average age: 24.1
(Last May — average age: 25)

16 defensive linemen — average age: 25.5
(Last May — average age: 25)

12 linebackers — average age: 24.9
(Last May — average age: 26)

– The oldest player on the roster is quarterback Tom Brady, who will turn 37 in August. The youngest player is rookie offensive lineman Cameron Fleming, who is 21 and will turn 22 on Sept. 3 of this year. The 16-year differential is the largest age discrepancy on the New England roster since Junior Seau (age 40) and Patrick Chung (age 22) occupied the same roster in 2009.

– Thanks in large part to the fact that Brady is the oldest player on the team by more than three full years — defensive lineman Tommy Kelly is the second-oldest at age 33 — it’s no surprise that the oldest average position for the Patriots is quarterback, which is 28 years old. It’s the third consecutive year Brady will be the oldest player on the New England roster. (The last time Brady wasn’t the oldest player on the New England roster was at the end of the 2011 season, when offensive lineman Brian Waters, defensive lineman Shaun Ellis and running back Kevin Faulk were all on the team at the time, and all older than the quarterback.) We’ve noted this on other occasions, but it’s worth repeating that if Brady can lead the Patriots to another Super Bowl win, he’d be only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl after his 35th birthday: Johnny Unitas (37 when he led the Colts to a win in Super Bowl V), Roger Staubach (35 when the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII), Jim Plunkett (36 when the Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII) and John Elway (37 and 38 when he led the Broncos to Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII titles).

– The youngest positional grouping is at running back, where the loss of the 27-year-old Le Garrette Blount in free agency played a role in allowing the youngest position on the team in September 2013 at 24.25 even younger — the eight running backs currently on the roster have an average age of 23.5, with rookie Roy Finch the youngest player among the backs at 22.

– The Patriots currently have 11 wide receivers on the roster, and their average age is 24.8 years old. That continues a youngish trend that started at the end of the 2012 season — early that season, the Patriots receivers averaged more than 30 when the team added Deion Branch and lost Greg Salas. That average eventually leveled off at roughly 28 years of age that season. Last year, with the loss of Branch and Wes Welker and the addition of youngsters like Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, that number dropped to 25. Now, it stands at 24.8, with Dobson and Jeremy Johnson still just 22 years old. (Dobson will turn 23 next month.) That average will likely rise as the regular season draws closer — most of the back end of the roster guys who will likely be cut loose are on the youngish side — but not by much.

– On defense, the most interesting numbers are at linebacker. Despite the fact that the Patriots lost twentysomethings Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher in free agency and added the 30-year-old James Anderson, New England saw the biggest overall dip in average age on defense at linebacker. Last May, the group averaged 26 years old — this time around, they have an average age of 24.9.

– The team currently has nine players on the roster age 30 or older: Brady, Kelly, Vince Wilfork, Will Smith, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Rob Ninkovich, Stephen Gostkowski and James Anderson — four of them are defensive linemen. At this time last year, the Patriots had 11 players on their roster 30 or older.

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