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Crunching the numbers on NFC West rosters, Part Three

How much does experience matter?

New York Jets v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

If you were asked to guess the percentage of players on the Seahawks’ 91-man roster that have less than 4 accrued seasons, what would you say?

One-third? Two-thirds?

More? Less?

What if I told you the answer was 73.6%?

What if I said that almost 3 out every 4 players on Seattle’s 91-man roster (as of June 25th) had either 3, 2, 1, or 0 accrued seasons?

Would you believe me?

You should.

...

Sixty-seven of the 91 players on Seattle’s current roster have less than 4 accrued seasons. And, yes, that means that only 24 players have 4 or more.

Note: I chose to break the players into 0-to-3 and 4+ groupings because once a player earns their 4th accrued season, they move past rookie contracts and restricted free agency - neither of which are topics for today.



Skewing the numbers

To be fair, the numbers that I just gave you (67 of 91 and 76.3%) are skewed a bit.

In two distinct ways.

One. Accrued seasons aren’t always representative of when a player joined the league.

For example, Alex Collins (SEA), Robert Nkemdiche (AZ), and Brandon Shell (NYJ) were all drafted in 2016, but Shell has 5 accrued seasons while Collins and Nkemdiche each only have 3.

For the purpose of today’s story, it doesn’t matter why this happens; it only matters that it does happen - especially when you’re looking at an expanded (offseason) roster.

Note: Alex McGough and Danny Etling are 2 other examples - both were selected in the 2018 NFL Draft (one pick apart; #219 and #220), yet neither has a single accrued season despite their having been in the league for three years at this point.

Two. 19 of those 67 players were either drafted by the Seahawks or signed as undrafted free agents (UDFAs) after this year’s draft.

That’s 19 players who were in college at this time last year. Nineteen players who have never taken a snap in an NFL game.

And 19 is almost 21% of Seattle’s 91-man roster.


Making adjustments

Seattle selected three players in this year’s NFL Draft.

Based on the franchise-low pick total and on the players that Seattle selected (WR D’Wayne Eskridge, CB Tre Brown, and OT Stone Forsythe), it seems reasonable to think that all of them will make the team this year.

Field Gulls’ very own JPG certainly thinks they will.

I don’t see any reason to disagree with his assessment. I, too, believe that all 3 draftees will make the team.

But what about the other 16 rooksters?

What will become of the undrafted players who were lured to Seattle with the promise of an opportunity to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster?

What will become of them?

...

JPG is not optimistic.

In those same two articles, he predicts that none of this year’s UDFAs will make the 53-man roster. Not even my personal UDFA crush, Cade Johnson. (BOO!!!)

Many of them will, of course, end up on the practice squad, and some will eventually factor into the Seahawks fortunes somewhere down the line.

But come August 31st (i.e. cutdown day)?

JPG says, “No!”

...

Personally, I find that a bit disappointing.

For the moment though, let’s assume that JPG is right and that none of this year’s UDFA’s are going to make the team.

And let’s just go ahead and axe all of them right now!

POOF! Gone!

Just like when Thanos snapped his fingers in The Avengers: Infinity War ... only a lot more targeted.


A new number to work with

Releasing those 16 unfortunate blokes would leave the Seahawks with ... (crunch, crunch) ... 75 players on the roster, 51 of whom would have 3 or fewer accrued seasons.

51 of 75 equals ...

(crunch, crunch, crunch)

68%

...

Wait, what?

...

Before cutting the sixteen 2021 UDFAs, the percentage of players on Seattle’s roster with 3 or fewer accrued seasons was 73.6%.

Now, after savagely ending 16 lifelong dreams, the percentage of players on Seattle’s roster with 3 or fewer accrued seasons is only 5.6 points lower ... ???

Yep, yep, yep!

(Ain’t math grand?)

US Kayla Mc Maroney poses with her silve Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/GettyImages

Fear not, fellow 12s!

Let’s start with some good news ...

It is very unlikely that Seattle will be trotting out a lineup in 2021 where two out of every three players is sporting a binky.

Wild Card Round - Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hmmm ... Mr. Metcalf does make binky-sportage look pretty cool.

And he is pretty damn good.

Maybe it’s the binky that gives him an advantage ... ?

Anyone think it’s a coincidence that my UDFA crush, Cade Johnson, uses one too?

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

...

On a side note, look at those two pictures again ... Is it just me or does it look like DK’s bicep might be bigger than Cade’s head?

__________

Now for the bad news ...

With only 24 players on the current roster with 4+ accrued seasons, Seattle IS going to have a whole lot of players on the roster with 3 or fewer accrued seasons when Week 1 rolls around.

It probably won’t be 73.6% or even 68%, but ... it is super-very-likely to be north of 50%.

...

Situations like this are obviously where the phrase, “Don’t shoot the messenger” came from.

But, as my grandpa used to say, “That’s just math.”

...

To illustrate my grandpas’ point ...

If we assume that all 24 players with 4+ accrued seasons make the final 53-man roster, then that leaves 29 spots to fill and the only players we currently have to fill them are ...

Players with 0-to-3 accrued seasons.

Yes, we could sign (or trade for) some more players that have 4+ accrued seasons. But we would need to add 3 of them to get past the 50% mark (26.5 = 50% of 53, so 27 is “the magic number”).

And that’s assuming that all 24 of the players with 4+ make the team.

__________

Feel free to argue, but I think that there are at least 4 vulnerable players in the 4+ group - and all of them are on defense:

  • Aldon Smith is facing legal issues
  • Al Woods is fighting Father Time (he is just shy of 7-1/2 years older than the next-oldest DT on our roster)
  • Pierre Desir is a former-Seahawk returning on a vet-min deal; he may stick ... or not
  • Damarious Randall is making a position switch ... again

Could all 4 of these players make the team? Sure.

But will they?

...

Bottom line: No matter how you spin it, we are (almost certainly) looking at more than HALF of Seattle’s 53-man roster having 3 or fewer accrued seasons when the Seahawks take the field in Indianapolis on September 12th.


Don’t panic just yet ...

Having 67 players with 3 or fewer accrued seasons and only 24 with 4 or more accrued seasons sounds worse than it is.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not great ... but it’s also not the entire story.

Remember the picture of D.K. that I shared earlier? He only has 2 accrued seasons .. but he also set a franchise record for receiving yards in a single season last year.

Michael Dickson, aka “the weapon”, aka “the guy who consistently pins our opponents deep with his precision punts” ... he has 3 accrued seasons.

Poona Ford and D.J. Reed also have 3 (each). I’m pretty sure most of the 12s have a lot of confidence in the two of them.

And how about Jordyn Brooks and Darrell Taylor? Last year’s first 2 draft picks are queued up to start at the WILL and SAM linebacker spots this year, respectively, and they have one accrued season between them.

...

Bottom line: Not all accrued seasons are created equally.


Things could be worse

In all seriousness, if this article has caused you any concern, I have 3 letters that should make you smile ...

L ... A ... R

Of the 91 players on the Rams’ roster right now, only twelve have as many as 4 accrued seasons.

(Tell me that doesn’t that make you feel at least a little bit better.)

...

Here are the full results for the NFC West clubs:

Table 3.1

As we can see from that table, the NFC West has a total of 264 players with 0-3 accrued seasons and exactly 100 players with 4 or more.

That’s a per-team average of 66 (0-3) and 25 (4+) ... which is pretty darn close to what Seattle’s numbers are (67 and 24).

...

This will probably be the only time you ever read these words in one of my articles, but ...

Here’s to being average!

Re-opening of Germany’s Biergarten and Outdoor Eating Venues

Speaking of average ...

As is often the case, there is more than one way to look at the data - in this specific instance, that data is accrued seasons.

Up to this point, we have been looking only at the number of players in relation to the number of accrued seasons.

More specifically, we have been looking at groups of players and the number of players in each of those groups - i.e. players that have 3 or fewer accrued seasons (264) ... and those that have 4 or more (an even 100).

Now we are going to look at the total number of accrued seasons that each NFC West roster has.

Let’s start with a summary (Table 3.2) and then crunch the numbers a couple different ways.

Table 3.2

San Francisco leads the NFC West with a combined total of 300 accrued seasons on their roster (as of 6/25/2021).

Arizona is right on their heels with 293.

Seattle is #3 at 221.

The Rams trail the pack with 176.

As a division, the 4 teams average 247.5 accrued seasons.

Worth noting: Seattle comes the closest to the division average.

Now comes the fun!


Crunch #1: Overall average for each 91-man roster

Simply dividing the total number of accrued seasons for each team by 91 would yield the following results:

SF: 3.30 | AZ: 3.22 | SEA: 2.43 | LAR: 1.93 | Division average: 2.72

Worth noting: Seattle comes closes to the division average with a difference of 0.29 versus Arizona’s difference of 0.50.

Adjustment, based on results

Each team has a number of players with zero accrued seasons and those players are obviously dragging down the averages.

So let’s remove those players from the equations.

Here is the breakdown for how many players each team “loses”:

Table 3.3:

The first two rows of numbers are self-explanatory: 2021 draftees and 2021 UDFAs.

The “Others” row is the number of players that have been in the league at least one season but have not yet earned an “accrued season.”


Crunch #2: Average for players with 1 or more accrued seasons

After subtracting the players with zero accrued seasons, the numbers increase quite a bit. Here are the new averages:

AZ: 4.58 | SF: 4.11 | SEA: 3.95 | LAR: 3.12 | Division average: 3.96

Since 3 of the 4 teams (Seattle, Arizona, and LAR) removed roughly a third of their roster from this equation, their averages jumped more than a point each.

Seattle led the way with an increase of 1.52 years, going from 2.43 to 3.95.

Arizona’s average climbed from 3.22 to 4.58 (+1.36 years).

LAR climbed 1.19 years (from 1.93 to 3.12).

The 49ers trailed the pack by virtue of having considerably fewer players on their roster with 0 accrued seasons; only about a fifth of their players were removed and their average only increased by 0.81 years.

Worth noting: Seattle was 0.01 away from the division average.


Recap and summary

The conclusion - at least based upon the crunching of accrued seasons - is that Seattle is basically the most average team in the NFC West.

Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is anyone’s guess. But the numbers certainly support that conclusion.

Let’s look at the actual results ...

...

One. The NFC West teams had an average of 66 players with less than 4 accrued seasons on their rosters on June 25th.

Seattle comes closest to the average with 67 on their roster.

__________

Two. The NFC West average is 25 players with 4 or more accrued seasons.

Again, Seattle, with 24, comes closest to that average.

__________

Three. The average number of total accrued seasons on an NFC West roster on June 25th was 247.5.

Seattle has 221 which is 26.5 off the pace, but ... no other NFC West team is closer.

__________

Four. The division average is 2.72 accrued seasons per player - based on 91 players per team and the total accrued seasons for each roster.

As this is simply a different presentation of the previous result (i.e. we divided the previous results by 91 to get these ones), Seattle is again closest to the division average (0.29 off; Arizona is next at 0.50).

__________

Five. After removing all of the players with 0 accrued seasons, the division average climbs to 3.96.

Seattle’s average is within 0.01 of that at 3.95.


Conclusion

Remember me saying that I’d probably only ever raise a toast to being average once?

...

Salut!

Re-opening of Germany’s Biergarten and Outdoor Eating Venues


“Bonus coverage”

Y’all know that I like to “show my work” - in part so that anyone that wants to can double check it. So, here are the tables I created in Excel and used for this article, minus the ones that were already shared in the article itself.

There’s some bonus “bonus coverage” after that as well :)

Table 3.4: The Raw Data

Table 3.5: The Raw Data, sans the 2021 UDFAs

Table 3.6: A Tiered Approach

Table 3.7: Tiers, sans the 2021 UDFAs

Table 3.8: Playing the Percentages

Table 3.9: The Percentages, sans the 2021 UDFAs


Bonus “Bonus coverage”

Because I found it amusing to do so, I stripped out the three players from each team with the most accrued seasons to see how it would affect the numbers.

First, let’s look at who the players are and how many accrued seasons each team would lose if we removed them.

  • Seahawks: Duane Brown (13), Carlos Dunlap (11), and Nick Bellore (10); 34 total
  • 49ers: Robbie Gould (16), Alex Mack (12), and Trent Williams (10); 38 total
  • Cardinals: Andy Lee (17), Matt Prater (14), and Colt McCoy (11); 42 total
  • Rams: Andrew Whitworth (15), DeSean Jackson (13), and Matthew Stafford (12); 40 total

Now, looking at those players, which team would be “impacted” the most if their 3 most-veteran players were suddenly Thanos-ed? (POOF! Gone!)

My pick would the be Rams. “Buh-bye,” to their shiny new veteran QB; “Adios,” to their starting Left Tackle; “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya,” to an experienced wideout.

Least impacted?

It’s gotta be the Cards, right? They lose a punter, a kicker, and a backup QB.

__________

What would removing those players do to the average accrued seasons for each NFC West team?

Table 3.10

AZ: 4.11 | SF: 3.74 | SEA: 3.53 | LAR: 2.56 | Division average: 3.96

__________

And here’s the amount of change for each roster (based on the earlier results in the main body of the article):

SF: (0.37) | SEA: (0.42) | AZ: (0.47) | LAR: (0.56) | Division average: (0.44)

__________

Yep ... Seattle is the team that is closest to the average once again.

Re-opening of Germany’s Biergarten and Outdoor Eating Venues

(Someone else is going to need to get the next round.)

Go Hawks!