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Crunching the numbers on NFC West rosters, Part Four

Comparing positional experience for the offensive position groups

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Most of us are familiar with the Seahawks’ roster - especially at the top of the depth chart (i.e. the starters). But how familiar are we with the rest of our roster? And what about the rosters of our division rivals?

Today we are going to look at how each NFC West roster stacks up at each of the position groups on the offensive side of the ball. More specifically, we are going to look at how many players each team has at each position and how how much experience the players in each position group have - as a group.

And, of course, I’ll draw your attention to some interesting data points along the way and invite you to offer your own observations in the Comments section.

Before we do that though ...

I want to tell you a story about one of the Seahawks’ lesser-known players.


The story of Seattle Wideout Darvin Kidsy

Darvin Kidsy is exactly the type of player that goes undrafted.

Kidsy played his first 3 years of college ball at the University of North Texas (FBS). He appeared in 36 games for the Mean Green (yes, that’s really the team’s name) and caught a total of 48 passes for 539 yards with 2 touchdowns.

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 20 Nicholls State at North Texas Photo by Ray Carlin/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kidsy then transferred to Texas Southern (FCS, SWAC), sat out a year, and then basically doubled his college production over the course of his redshirt senior season (38 receptions, 519 yards, 3 TDs).

Combined totals for his college career: 4 years, 86 receptions, 1,058 yards, 5 touchdowns.

__________

Darvin Kidsy entered the 2018 NFL Draft but his name was never called.

Washington signed him as an undrafted free agent.

They released Kidsy at the end of training camp in 2018 and then put him on their practice squad after he cleared waivers. He ended up appearing in 2 games for Washington that season, taking a total of 9 offensive snaps.

He was targeted twice, made 1 reception, recorded a total of 8 yards.

Washington Redskins v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

In 2019, Washington again released Kidsy during training camp. They didn’t add him to their practice squad right away though; they waited until October 2nd. He was called up to the active roster in December and appeared in 3 games.

In the first game, he got one offensive snap. Same with the second game. In Week 17, Kidsy got 22 offensive snaps, giving him 24 for the season.

He was never targeted in 2019.

__________

Having apparently seen what they needed to, Washington declined to bring Kidsy back in 2020. As far as I have been able to determine, he was out of the league completely for almost an entire calendar year.

On December 2nd, Seattle added him to their practice squad.

The Seahawks released him 6 days later.


The moral of the story

If someone were to ask, how many seasons’ worth of NFL experience would you say that Darvin Kidsy has?

Pro tip: There is no wrong answer ... as long as you can explain why you gave the answer that you did.

Poll

How many seasons’ worth of NFL experience would YOU say that Darvin Kidsy has?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    0 seasons
    (74 votes)
  • 17%
    1 season
    (28 votes)
  • 16%
    2 seasons
    (26 votes)
  • 8%
    3 seasons
    (13 votes)
  • 6%
    It depends
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    I don’t know
    (9 votes)
160 votes total Vote Now

No wrong answers

Did the “Pro Tip” influence your answer?

It certainly would have influenced mine - because it would have freed me to give the answer that I wanted to discuss rather than the answer that I thought the survey expected me to give.

Allow me to explain ...

My instinctual response would have been “It depends” because, well, it does ... depend ... and because that’s one of the jokes that folks with MBAs like to tell - we spent all that money to learn how to say, “It depends.”

My logical response would have been “Two seasons” because he appeared in at least 1 game in 2 different seasons. It ain’t rocket science.

“Three seasons” would have been my third choice because he joined the league in 2018 and there have been 3 seasons since that time and why on earth do we need to make things overly-complicated? Lord knows that I do not want to have to know the backstory of every single player just to have an “accurate” discussion.

Then there’s the side of me that likes debate and sometimes chooses a position just so I can defend it. That side of me would have considered “One season” a mighty tempting option. My initial rationale, which might have evolved as the discussion went on, would be that giving Kidsy credit for a full season in either 2018 or 2019 seems excessive but not giving him any credit at all would seem both excessive and punitive. Awarding him a half-season each year seems “right”.

My least favorite of the responses - and the one that I would try to avoid selecting - is the one that the league’s agreement with the players stipulates is the correct answer: “0 seasons.” Yep, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Kidsy has played in 5 games across parts of two seasons over the last three years ... and he has no more status in the league’s eyes than someone who signed their first NFL contract five minutes ago.

I will resist the urge to climb onto my soapbox here, but I will give you the two words the league uses to defend their position: “accrued seasons.”

__________

Oh, and “I don’t know” is never wrong - especially if you’re being told that you need to be able to explain your answer and aren’t sure you could if you selected anything else.


NFC West Wide Receiver groups

In my original outline for this story, I started with the QBs. However, since we’ve gotten to know Darvin Kidsy a little bit, let’s start with the Wide Receiver group instead.

Before we jump into the numbers though, let’s walk through what you’ll find in the tables and use Darvin Kidsy as our guide.

The first row of numbers is self-explanatory ... # of players. Kidsy would count as 1 for Seattle (and 1 for the division total as well).

Row 2 is accrued seasons. As was mentioned previously, accrued seasons is how the league officially measures experience and Kidsy has 0 accrued seasons.

“Max seasons” (Row 3) is the maximum years of experience that the position group could have based on when each player first entered the league. Darvin Kidsy counts as 3 here since he signed his first NFL contract in 2018.

Note: For some players, accrued seasons and max seasons match; for others they don’t. I’m not digging into what “the mix” is today, but it “might” come up in the future.

Row 4 (Difference) is calculated by subtracting Row 2 from Row 3 and represents the difference between maximum years and actual seasons (as attributed by the league, per the agreed upon terms in the CBA). Kidsy represents 3 in this row (i.e. 3 minus 0 equals 3).

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Here are the raw numbers for the NFC West wideouts (as of 6/25):

Table 4.1: Wideouts

Oh, Snap! The 11 in the middle of the Seahawks column really POPS, doesn’t it? Especially when you see a 43 sitting next to it in the 49ers column.

And now, instead of making a joke about how the Seahawks “stayed getting shipped with Julio Jones earlier this offseason,” the pit in my stomach is suddenly pulling me in a different direction ...

Note: “Stay getting shipped” (present-tense) was a topic of discussion in the Comments section of the July 4th Pre-Snap Reads which then resurfaced in the July 6th Pre-Snap Reads.

(Ah, good times!)

Here is that same table with each team’s most-experienced wideout removed.

Table 4.1 - The Uh-oh version

Anyone else feeling nauseous right about now?

It’s about to get worse.

...

Here’s who was removed from each group:

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett - y’all know his story and his stats. If not, here’s an appreciative look at the first 6 years of his career.

49ers: Either Mohamed Sanu or Travis Benjamin - both are 9-year vets; Sanu played 3 games with SF last year with 1 catch for 9 yards; Benjamin signed with SF in 2020 but was a COVID opt-out.

Cardinals: A.J. Green - 10-year vet; missed the entire 2019 season due to injury (but was on Cincy’s active roster until December); had 47 receptions for 523 yards with 2 TDs and a 45.2% catch rate in 2020; signed with Arizona in March.

Rams: DeSean Jackson - 13-year vet; only appeared in a total of 8 games the past 2 seasons; had 14 receptions in 5 games last year for 236 yards and 1 TD with a catch rate of 53.8%; signed with L.A. (his 5th team) in March.

,,,

Bottom line: The only NFC West team that would truly suffer if they lost their most-senior receiver is Seattle. The other teams would be losing an older player with declining stats who hasn’t previously contributed for them - or, in Sanu’s case, hasn’t contributed much.

__________

For those that are interested, here are the numbers for the rest of the wideouts on Seattle’s roster as of 6/25 (with max seasons in brackets following their name):

  • 2 accrued seasons: DK Metcalf (2)
  • 1 accrued season: Freddie Swain (1), John Ursua (2), Penny Hart (2)
  • 0 accrued seasons: Aaron Fuller (1), Cade Johnson (0), Cody Thompson (2), Connor Wedington (0), Darvin Kidsy (3), D’Wayne Eskridge (0), Tamorrion Terry (0), Travis Toivonen (0)


NFC West Quarterback groups

With the division’s best QB starting his 10th season, the Seahawks would seem to be in good shape here. But are they?

Table 4.2: QBs

To be honest, this is closer than I expected it to be. The Seahawks are in front though and that’s what matters. Right?

I won’t be doing this for each position group, but here is list of the players in the division’s Quarterback rooms (with the expected 2021 starters in bold italics):

  • Seahawks: Russell Wilson (9 accrued, 9 max); Geno Smith (8,8), Alex McGough (0,3), Danny Etling (0,3)
  • 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo (7,7), Nate Sudfeld (5,5), Josh Rosen (3,3), Trey Lance (0,0)
  • Cardinals: Colt McCoy (11,11), Kyler Murray (2,2), Chris Steveler (1,1)
  • Rams: Matthew Stafford (12,12), John Wolford (1,3), Devlin Hodges (1,2), Bryce Perkins (0,1)

A few thoughts:

One. If the Rams hadn’t traded for Stafford (and thus still had Goff), their numbers would be 4, 7, and 11.

Two. Without Garoppolo, the 49ers’ numbers would be 3, 8, and 8.

And, yes, I personally expect that the 9ers will transition from Jimmy G to T-Lance at some point this season.

Three. Sans Colt McCoy, Arizona’s numbers would be 2, 3, and 3. Wow!

Amusingly, that wouldn’t be the league’s lowest #s - the Jets currently have 3 QBs on their roster (Zach Wilson, James Morgan, and Mike White) with 1 accrued season and a total of 4 max seasons between them.

Four. Without Geno, Seattle’s numbers would be 3, 9, and 15.

__________

Somewhat surprisingly, Geno Smith and Colt McCoy have very similar stats for their careers and each player’s last “big”(ish) season was in 2014.


NFC West backfield groups (RBs + FBs)

The NFC West has a total of 24 running backs and three fullbacks on their rosters (as of 6/25/2021). The distribution of those players among the four teams is interesting, but what really stands out (to me) is the experience levels.

Take a look.

Table 4.3: Running Backs

Each team is currently carrying six running backs. But look at the number in the Rams column. Their backs are Y-O-U-N-G. Darrell Henderson, their 2019 R3, is the elder stateman for them with two accrued seasons (and max seasons) and a birthday that is five days before Xavier Jones (a 2020 UDFA).

As a group, these 24 running backs have an average of 1.7 accrued seasons with a max average of two seasons.

Here are a few other interesting tidbits about the NFC West’s RBs:

One. The NFCW RBs with the highest 2021 cap hits are:

  • Raheem Mostert, $3,608,334
  • Rashaad Penny, $3,425,366
  • Chris Carson, $2.7M

Note: The Rams’ highest cap hit at RB belongs to Cam Akers ($1,402,964). Chase Edmonds leads the Cardinals’ RBs at $1,033,089.

Two. Seattle’s RB room is the most expensive in 2021 with a cap hit of $9,428,139. San Francisco is #2 at $8,880,215. The Rams ($5,454,517) and Cardinals ($3,768,768) are spending considerably less.

Note: Strictly from a cap-perspective, Rashaad Penny is “worth” almost as much as Arizona’s entire running back group.

  • Three. Only 3 NFC West backs are no longer subject to the league’s rookie scale. Raheem Mostert is the elder statesman with 5 accrued seasons. Chris Carson and Wayne Gallman (SF) have 4 apiece.

__________

Table 4.4: Fullbacks

Not a whole lot to take away from this one - other than that Fullback is a dying position with only 2 of the 4 NFC West teams stocking the position.

What isn’t evident from this table is the fact that San Francisco is the only NFC West team that actually uses a fullback.

Let’s compare:

Nick Bellore: Seattle’s fullback is primarily a special teams ace. PFR credits him with 35 offensive snaps in 2020 and 29 in 2019; PFF says the numbers are 35 and 41, respectively. Either way, the total is well under 100 over the past 2 seasons.

As an FYI, I linked Bellore’s name to the site that doesn’t require a subscription.

Meanwhile, down in the Bay area, over the same 2-year period, the guy that “needs to buy a vowel”, Kyle Juszczyk, has taken roughly 1,000 offensive snaps. PFR says 861, but doesn’t appear to include the 2019 playoffs (+112). PFF says 972.

...

The NFC West’s “other” fullback is SF’s Josh Hokit. He’s a 2020 UDFA with 0 snaps.


NFC West Tight End groups

There are 8 tight ends in the NFC West that have been in the league for at least 4 years. Seattle has 1 of them (Gerald Everett). Each of our rivals has at least 2; Arizona has 3.

Table 4.5: Tight Ends

Not surprisingly, since I sort of tipped the hand before sharing the table, the Hawks have the least accrued seasons and the least max seasons. However, it’s only one less than the Rams on each count.

But ...

The Rams have two fewer tight ends on their roster than Seattle does. In fact, each NFC West team has a different number of Tight Ends on their roster.

Perhaps looking at the averages for each team would provide better insight ...

...

(crunch, crunch, crunch)

...

Here we go:

  • Average Accrued Seasons: SF: 2.60 | LAR: 2.25 | AZ: 2.14 | SEA: 1.60
  • Average Max Seasons: LAR: 3.00 | SF: 2.80 | AZ: 2.57 | SEA: 1.83

__________

To be fair, those numbers might be a little misleading. Here’s why:

  • 3 of the 6 players in the Seahawks’ Tight End room have 0 accrued seasons
  • In San Francisco, only 1 of the 5 have 0 accrued seasons
  • Down in the desert, it’s 4 of 7, but the other 3 have either 4, 5, or 6 accrued seasons
  • For the Rams, only 1 of the 4 have 0 accrued seasons

Let’s do this ... let’s assume that each team carries 3 tight ends in 2021 and the 3 with the most experience make the team.

Here’s how that would look:

  • Seattle: 8 accrued seasons, 8 max seasons, averages of 2.67 for each one
  • San Francisco: 12 and 13; averages of 4.0 and 4.33
  • Arizona: 15 and 16; averages of 5.0 and 5.33
  • Los Angeles: 9 accrued, 10 max; averages of 3.0 and 3.33

Hmmm ...

It might not be a cause for concern given Gerald Everett’s “familiarity” with the offense that Shane Waldron is installing, but ... ?


NFC West Offensive Line groups

The big guys up front don’t usually get a lot of love from the fans.

Their roles aren’t glamorous.

There aren’t a lot of fan-friendly stats for offensive linemen.

And I don’t think any fantasy football league has ever let its participants select individual O-linemen. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

But it isn’t a cliché to say that football games are often “won in the trenches”.

With that in mind, here are the total numbers for all of the offensive linemen in the NFC West. We’ll break them out a bit after this.

Table 4.6: The O-Lines

Observation #1: It seems like a done deal, so to speak, that Seattle’s starting offensive line is going to be Brown-Lewis-Pocic-Jackson-Shell, from left to right.

Which begs the question of why Seattle is carrying the most O-linemen in the division.

...

Observation #2: Crunching numbers may provide an answer.

Here are the averages for Rows 2 & 3:

  • Accrued seasons: SEA: 2.71 | SF: 3.56 | AZ: 3.87 | LAR: 2.79
  • Max seasons: SEA: 2.94 | SF: 4.69 | AZ: 4.40 | LAR: 3.07

...

As we can see from those numbers, Seattle actually has the least experienced group on a player-by-player basis.

Although there isn’t a very big difference between Seattle and L.A.

__________

Here’s the thing though ...

Unless someone is injured (or playing really, really badly), teams stick with their starters on the offensive line for every snap of every game. So what we really care about is the projected starters ... and how the numbers shake out behind them.

__________

NFC West Offensive Tackles

The starters shown in the following table are based on PFF’s most recent roster projections - although I could have predicted all of them as well, based on the experience levels alone.

Table 4.7: Offensive Tackles

Observation #1: At first glance, Seattle would appear to be in the best shape if one of their starters goes down. And that glance more or less holds up when you dig into the rosters.

Granted, Cedric Ogbuehi is listed as our backup Right Tackle, but he was an R1 pick (#21 overall in 2015) and no other team in the division can boast more than an R3 in a backup role on either end of the line.

...

Observation #2: Amusingly, Andrew Whitworth has the same amount of experience as the Cardinals 2 starting tackles combined ... and more experience than both of the 49ers’ starting tackles - one of whom (Trent Williams) is the highest-paid tackle in the league.

...

Observation #3: Seattle leads the division in terms of the average experience for their backup tackles. (And, yes, this is at least partially skewed by Ogbuehi having been in the league for 6 years.)

  • Accrued seasons: SEA: 2.25 | SF: 1.00 | AZ: 1.50 | LAR: 1.20
  • Max seasons: SEA: 2.50 | SF: 1.60 | AZ: 2.25 | LAR: 1.20

...

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about the quality of the Tackles in the NFC West - particularly the LEFT Tackles ...

While PFF is, admittedly, not everyone’s cup of tea, I do have a subscription and I do like to use it. In 2020, out of 103 tackles that PFF graded, here are where our division’s presumed starters ranked:

Seattle

  • Duane Brown: #15 Run-Blocking; #12 Pass-Blocking; #6 overall
  • Brandon Shell: #75 RB, #20 PB, #38 overall

San Francisco

  • Trent Williams: #1 Run-Blocking; #10 Pass-Blocking; #1 overall
  • Mike McGlinchey: #2 RB; #92 PB; #21 overall

Arizona

  • D.J. Humphries: #3 Run-Blocking; #23 Pass-Blocking; #5 overall
  • Kelvin Beachum: #93 RB; #31 PB; #52 overall

Los Angeles

  • Andrew Whitworth: #10 Run-Blocking; #4 Pass-Blocking; #4 overall
  • Rob Havenstein: #11 RB; #50 PB; #17 overall

...

And, yes, as you can see from the numbers that I chose to “highlight,” that means that 4 of the league’s top 6 Tackles resided in the NFC West last season.

...

Also, whilst I dislike Santa Clara Adjacent as much as the next 12 ... Hats off to the 9ers for having the #1 and the #2 run-blocking Tackles in 2020. That is seriously impressive!

__________

Note: For those that want to lament how old Duane Brown is, even after seeing those PFF rankings, I would like to share the following information:

Andrew Whitworth turned 39 on December 21st, 2020, and will be 40 when the 2021 season ends. By comparison, Duane Brown will be 36 when the season concludes as he doesn’t turn 36 until August 30th - a mere 13 days before the Seahawks kick off their regular season in Indianapolis.

For those interested in the math, that is a difference of 3 years, 8 months, and 9 days between 2 of the best Left Tackles in the league.

Andrew Whitworth recently stated that he expects this season to be his last - in part because he’s coming off a knee injury that cost him 7 games last year and in part because he set a goal for himself in 2013 to play until he was 40.

My point? If Mr. Brown stays healthy (and wants to continue playing), he could be protecting Russell Wilson’s blindside for a few more years.

__________

NFC West Interior Offensive Linemen

I was going to go with PFF’s projected starters again for the interior O-line positions, but ... I honestly don’t know what they’re thinking with some of them.

Specifically, they are projecting a rookie starting at RG for SF over a pair of 9-year vets and have backup Tackles taking over at RG for both the Cardinals and Rams ...

Sure ... those things could happen, but ... for the purposes of this comparison, I am sticking with players at their “listed” positions (so no Tackle-to-Guard projections) and opting for age over beauty for the Niners (meaning no Aaron Banks as the starter) ... for now.

Table 4.8: Interior Offensive Linemen

What really jumps out to me, personally, with this table, is that the Rams interior offensive line group is a bunch of young’uns with very little experience. Seriously! No one in that position group was in the league before 2018.

The other thing that stands out is the “overabundance of experience” that the 49ers and Cardinals have compared to the Seahawks and the Rams - and that’s even with Seattle having a 7-year veteran at one of the Guard positions.

Other than those two things, Seattle having as many backup Guards on the roster as the Cardinals and Rams combined is sort of amusing.

It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Note: Because of where I pulled my data from (OTC), Kyle Fuller is grouped with the Guards even though he may end up being the backup Center (again).

If you want to adjust the numbers, Fuller has earned 2 accrued seasons during his 4 years in the league. That would drop the backup Guard #s to 6, 5, and 6 and raise the backup Center #s to 2, 2, and 4.


Wrap up

If you enjoyed this article or are simply curious about the other stories in the series, here are the links:

_________

Part Five will focus on the numbers on the defensive side of the ball.

As always, I look forward to your Comments.

...

Go Hawks!