Baltimore Ravens

Ravens have been trending younger, but will that continue in 2015?

In the past three years, the Ravens have gone from having one of the older rosters in the NFL to being in the middle of the pack.

Will they be even younger this year after bringing in a nine-man draft class and signing a boatload of college free agents?


It's hard to tell now. Calculating a team's average age when there are 90 players on the roster – and in the Ravens' case, 25 rookies – is pointless. Most of the rookie free agents won't make the regular-season roster and the Ravens could still add or release some veterans.

When they got down to the requisite 53 players before last year's season opener, the average age of the Ravens' roster was 26.04 years. According to the annual study done by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jimmy Kempski, the Ravens had the 17th youngest roster – or 16th oldest depending on how you look at it – in the NFL.


In 2013, they had the 18th youngest roster (26.16 average age) and in 2012, they ranked 21st in average age (26.4), according to Kempski's data. That season, the average age of the Ravens starters in Super Bowl XLVII was 28.9, the 10th oldest lineup to play in the Super Bowl.

But, of course in the days following the triumph over the San Francisco 49ers, the Ravens bid goodbye to some of their oldest players, including Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Bryant McKinnie, Ma'ake Kemoeatu and Bobbie Williams.

More veterans, like Vonta Leach, Dallas Clark, Brandon Stokley and James Ihedigbo, weren't brought back last year. This offseason, however, the losses have not been so dramatic.

Five of the team's seven oldest players at this time last year are still on the roster. The exceptions are tight end Owen Daniels and cornerback Aaron Ross, who never played a game for the Ravens after he tore his Achilles on the eve of training camp.

At this point last year, the Ravens had nine players on the roster who were 30 years of age or older. Currently, they have 10: Chris Canty (32), Elvis Dumervil (31), Joe Flacco (30), Sam Koch (32), Dennis Pitta (30), Matt Schaub (34), Steve Smith (36), Daryl Smith (33), Terrell Suggs (32) and Marshal Yanda (30).

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Fifty-four of their 90 players at this time last year had three years of NFL experience, or less. Currently, 60 of their 90 players fit that description.

But that doesn't mean that the Ravens will be even younger this year.

For one thing, the Ravens return most of their starting players from last year's team, so they'll all be a year older. Schaub will replace Tyrod Taylor, who is nine years younger than the Ravens' projected backup quarterback.


The Ravens will be younger at tight end with Daniels gone and rookies Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle joining second-year pro Crockett Gillmore and potentially Pitta. With Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones playing elsewhere, the Ravens' receiving corps will feature all first-to-third-year players behind Steve Smith.

But at other positions, aside from a player here and a player there, the Ravens will primarily rely on guys who were on the roster last season and are now one year older.

The Ravens pride themselves on maintaining a young roster. They prefer to give their younger players a chance to fill roles left vacant by roster departures, rather than relying on free agency.

When the final 53-man roster is selected ahead of the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos, the Ravens still figure to have a pretty youthful roster. It just might not necessarily be younger than it was when they began the 2014 regular season.