I have shocking news for you, Green Bay Packers fans: your team will again be among the youngest in the NFL this season. The latest analysis of the roster comes to you courtesy of ESPN's Mike Sando, their NFC West blogger, who looked at just the 22 projected starters for each team to get an idea of the youth of the most important players on each team. Most of the Packers' starters are fairly well set, but Sando did need to make a few assumptions about the roster and how training camp battles will end in order to go through this estimate.
Even so, the Packers' offense ranked as the fourth-youngest unit in the NFL. That was assuming that Eddie Lacy is the starter at running back and Randall Cobb is defined as the starter ahead of James Jones. Even if Alex Green and Jones get the nod, the offense would still be relatively young compared to other teams around the league.
The defense is a bit of a different story, however, and based on Sando's projection of the starting lineup it ranks as the 17th-youngest defensive unit in the league. This surprised me a bit, however. Ryan Pickett is of course the oldest player on the team at 33 (turning 34 in October), but he's the only starter who's older than 30. I thought a little harder though and realized that only three projected starters have two or fewer years of NFL experience: Nick Perry, Datone Jones, and whoever wins the strong safety job between M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian. With the bulk of the starters on the unit having between four and seven years of experience, a ranking in the middle of the league actually seems about right.
Overall, the youth of the offense still makes the Packers' full crop of starters the sixth-youngest group in the league, which is in keeping with the team's draft and develop strategy and reluctance to sign veteran free agents from other teams. With a few starting jobs still up for grabs, this may of course adjust the numbers, but it gives a good idea of where the units sit in relation to the rest of the league.
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