Friday, May 3, 2013
Young but experienced offensive lines
By Jamison Hensley
Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, is the oldest starting offensive lineman in the AFC North at 33 years old. That led me to break down the ages of the offensive linemen in the division, and I realized that these lines are young but have experience.
McKinnie is just one of three projected starting offensive linemen in this division who are 30 years or older when the 2013 season begins. The others are both Bengals, left tackle Andrew Whitworth (31) and center Kyle Cook (30). Of the 20 starting offensive linemen, half are 25 years or younger.
The young linemen in this division are far from rookies. The only new starting offensive lineman is Ravens center Gino Gradkowski, who is replacing the retired Matt Birk.
Of course, some of the numbers can change because of injuries and training camp battles. Cook could get beaten out by Trevor Robinson, and Bengals left guard Clint Boling could lose his job to Travelle Wharton.
Here are other observations:
- The Ravens have the oldest starting line, averaging 27.2 years of age. The youngest is the Steelers, whose average starting lineman is 24.4 years old. That's about two years younger than the averages for the Browns (26.0) and Bengals (26.8).
- While McKinnie is the oldest lineman, the youngest in the division is Steelers tackle Mike Adams, who is 23. He's two days younger than Bengals right guard Kevin Zeitler.
- If Browns left guard Jason Pinkston can recover from a blood clot in his lung, the Browns will return the same five starters from last year's line. The Bengals are bringing back their line intact after re-signing right tackle Andre Smith during the draft.
- The oldest starting position on the line in the AFC North is left tackle. Assuming Adams starts at left tackle (that spot has yet to be determined by Pittsburgh), the average age is 28.7 years old with McKinnie, Whitworth and the Browns' Joe Thomas. The youngest place on the line is right guard at 24.7 years old. That group is comprised of Zeitler, the Ravens' Marshal Yanda, the Steelers' David DeCastro and the Browns' Shawn Lauvao.