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Crunching the numbers on NFC West rosters, Part Two

Where do football players come from?

NFL: SEP 29 Seahawks at Cardinals Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you are ever bored and want to kill a few hours, use OverTheCap.com and Pro-Football-Reference.com (and/or other sites of your choosing) to pull up the profiles of all 91 players on your favorite team ... and the profiles of the combined 273 players on the rosters of your favorite team’s 3 closest rivals.

Then transfer the data from those 364 player profiles into a massive Excel spreadsheet, mostly by hand.

Then - assuming you haven’t yet lost your mind ... mine said spreadsheet for insights and other random “gems”.

And share them with the world.


As a reminder, this series is based on the NFC West rosters as they were on June 25th. Any changes since that date, including Seattle releasing Tamorrion Terry, will not be reflected in the numbers, analysis, etc.


Whither doth thy talent come from?

In the first story of the FTR anthology (aka Part One of this series), I coined the phrase Seattle Originals to refer to players who started their professional careers in the NFL’s premiere Northwest outpost.

I also coined the term LAR-Os for the Rams’ variant.

I considered continuing the theme by referring to players who started their careers in the desert as AZ-Os.

I ultimately decided against that though - not because AZ-Os doesn’t roll off the tongue in an absolutely lovingly way, but because of San Francisco --- What would I call them?

SFOs would just be confusing - Are we going somewhere? Did they build a second airport?

N-Os seems overly negative.

Plus, NOS is a thing ... And it’s trademarked.

ME.Hondas.Nitro,082395.MB––(Westminster)–The Nitrous Oxide bottle mounted on the floor in the back s Photo by Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Why invite litigation?

...

Acronyms aside, the main thing you need to know/remember from Part One is that a substantial number of the players on each NFC West roster started their career with the team whose roster they are currently on.

Here are the actual numbers (as of 6/25/2021):

  • Seattle: 56 of 91 (61.5%)
  • SF: 47 of 91
  • Arizona: 42 of 91
  • LAR: so many ... so very, very many

Alright, now that we know how many Originals each team has (the Rams have 67!), we can crunch some numbers and determine how many players on each roster started their professional career outside the division.

Note: The number of players on each roster who started their career with a division rival was covered in Part One.

For Seattle, subtracting 56 from 91 leaves 35. Five of those 35 started out with our NFC West rivals which means that the other 7 divisions contributed 30 players to Seattle’s current roster.

Crunching the numbers for Santa Clara-adjacent (which also has 5 players with ties to their division rivals) yields a result of 39.

The Cardinals’ 42 AZ-Os + the 2 players that came to them via the 9ers leaves 47 players who got their start outside the NFC West.

And the Lambs ... 67 LAR-Os + one 9-O means they have 23 players that entered the league from the NFC-N/E/S and the AFC-N/E/S/W.

Note: I resisted the urge to date myself with a 90210 joke there --- i.e. 9-O(21-O). But now I’ve gone and done it anyway.

30 | 39 | 47 | 23

139 total.

Out of 364 players across the 4 rosters.

(crunch, crunch, crunch)

139 of 364 = 38.2%

...

Having now established that 38.2% of the NFC West’s current talent pool got their start outside the NFC West, and having previously established that the vast majority of the 61.8% that got their start inside the division got their start with their current team ...

The most pressing question (for me) becomes:

Which teams do the NFC West teams PREFER to pilfer, poach, and filch talent from?

(any guesses?)

The answer might surprise you.

Ready?

(drumroll)

.

.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

...

I will be honest ... I did NOT see that coming.

If I had been guessing, Jacksonville probably would have been the 23rd or 24th team that I offered up. And I am almost certain that I would have thrown in the towel before I got that far.

What is even more impressive / amazing / stunning about that result is that the Jaguars are the only team in the double digits.

They have contributed eleven players to NFC West rosters this year.

The Patriots are second with 9.

Four teams - the Bengals, Browns, Jets, and Lions - have each contributed eight players.

...

Pretty mind-blowing, right? As a group, the Jaguars, Patriots, Bengals, Browns, Jets, and Lions contributed 52 players to the current NFC West rosters.

Wow!

That’s as a group though. How about individually? What are top talent-pools for each NFC West team?

(aside from themselves, of course)

  • Seattle: Jets (5), Jaguars (4), Niners (3), Texans (3)
  • Santa Clara: Browns (5), Cardinals (4), Patriots (4), no one else with more than 2
  • Glendale: Broncos (4), Chiefs (4), Jaguars (4), Bengals (3) Colts (3)
  • Inglewood: Ravens (4), Jaguars (3), Lions (3)

And, for those that are curious ...

  • Jets: Brandon Shell, Geno Smith, Jamal Adams, Kerry Hyder, and Nick Bellore
  • Jaguars: Jason Myers, Joshua Moon, Nate Evans, and Saivion Smith
  • Texans: Duane Brown, Kyle Fuller, and Walter Palmore
  • Niners: Aldon Smith + the presumed starters at CB: Ahkello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed
San Francisco 49ers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Whither doth thy talent NOT come from?

A total of 225 of the 364 players on NFC West rosters started their careers with an NFC West team.

Eleven started their NFL careers with the Jaguars.

Nine Patriots bolted New England and ended up on NFC West rosters.

The Bengals, Browns, Jets, and Lions contributed 8 players each. The Broncos, Chiefs, and Ravens donated 7 apiece.

But which team does the NFC West not “like”?

(not gonna drag this one out)

(too much)

.

.

NFL: NOV 03 Vikings at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

...

The Vikings are numero uno on the NFC West’s No Bueno list with only one Minnesota Original on an NFCW roster (in SF).

...

Quick, name this player!

Tennessee Titans v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Give up?

It’s TE MyCole Pruitt (2015, R5.143); the aforementioned player that was drafted by the Vikings and is now on the Niners’ roster.

(Yeah, I hadn’t heard of him until recently either.)

Note: If you look at his stats (18 starts in 63 games, 32 catches on 45 targets, 343 yards, 4 TDs), it’s clear that Pruitt isn’t going to beat out George Kittle. But Ross Dwelley (2018.UDFA) and Charlie Woerner (2020, R6.190) are his main competition for the backup role so my guess is that he’ll survive the final cut.

...

The Bills, Bucs, Cowboys, and Saints don’t like sending their players west either - only 2 players from any of those teams are currently on an NFCW roster.


‘Tis time to end the “Whither doth” nonsense

That’s all I’ve got for today.

But I’ll leave you with a trio of tables that provide the team-by-team breakdown in alphabetical order (Table 2.1), a breakdown by division - with division totals (Table 2.2), and a few additional insights (Table 2.3).

...

Table 2.1: Here is the full (alphabetical) breakdown for where NFC West players come from (as of 6/25/2021):

...

Table 2.2: A variation of Table 1, with teams listed by division (with division totals):

...

Table 2.3: Some additional insights + number crunching: