NFC West: roster
The chart shows where teams stand at various position groups.
The St. Louis Rams announced the signing of 22 undrafted rookie free agents. The team still has nine roster spots open by my count, but the Rams are far from short-handed. They have 29 players scheduled to participate in their rookie camp on a tryout basis, the assumption being that several will earn roster spots.
Some of the numbers in the defensive front sevens can shift based on how outside linebackers and defensive ends are classified. We'll tweak those as roles become clearer.
I'm still in the process of collecting dates of birth and other vitals for the hundreds of draft choices and undrafted rookies joining rosters over the past few weeks. Once those are verified, we'll make sense of the information.
Note that the Seahawks could consider making a roster move involving Greg Scruggs. The defensive lineman suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament before the draft. He's undergoing surgery this week and could miss the 2013 season.
The 49ers appear to be carrying a high number of running backs, but there is some explanation in order.
Fourth-round rookie Marcus Lattimore counts among the nine players listed at running back, but he's unlikely to play before 2014 while recovering from knee surgery. San Francisco is heavy on fullbacks with Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon and Alex Debniak. Defensive lineman Will Tukuafu also plays fullback at times. MarQueis Gray, a former quarterback at Minnesota, projects as a tight end/H-back.
"General" is the appropriate term here because some teams see fullbacks as tight ends, defensive ends as outside linebackers and the like. But the general picture can be helpful in determining where teams might be a little thin, where they have depth, etc.
Teams often wind up picking the best 53 players at the expense of some positions. The San Francisco 49ers did this at the expense of a third quarterback, for example.
These counts will change. In Tennessee, for example, running back Chris Johnson is not immediately counting against the 53-man limit. The Titans received an exemption for him after Johnson missed camp during a contract dispute.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With the Arizona-New York kickoff less than an hour away, I'll offer up a roided-out roster for the Jets.
The Jets are an interesting team from a roster standpoint. They are one of only three teams in the league with four quarterbacks. They are the only team in the league with five specialists (two punters, two kickers and a snapper). That means eight of the 53 players on the roster -- three quarterbacks and all those specialists -- aren't expected to play offense or defense in a given week. Injuries on offense and defense have the potential to hurt the Jets disproportionately.
The Jets have only three running backs on their roster. They have one running back on the practice squad, but that gives them only four running backs to work with during the week. Every other team in the league has at least five between the active roster and practice squad.
The Jets have the NFL's 12th-oldest roster overall. Their starters are fifth-oldest. Their offensive starters are the oldest in the league on average (thanks, Brett Favre). The Jets have six offensive starters in their 30s, most in the league. Their defensive starters are 24th-oldest in the league.
Draft-wise, the Jets have seven of their own picks from the 2006 class, tied for most in the league.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- While a steady rain falls at the Meadowlands in advance of the Cardinals-Jets game, I put together a roided-out Saints roster for those of you monitoring the 49ers' game at New Orleans today.
The Saints are the third-oldest team in the league behind St. Louis and Washington, but their starters rank in the middle of the pack on both sides of the ball (18th-oldest on offense, 17th-oldest on defense).
New Orleans has only 21 of its own draft choices by my count, tied with the Rams and Browns for sixth-fewest in the league. The league average is 26.
Seven Saints draft choices still with the team played college ball in the SEC, tied for second-most in the league. No Saints draft choices from the ACC remain on the 53-man roster. Every other team has at least one (Seattle leads the league with 11).
Despite having only 37 drafted players (selected by any team), the Saints have more players drafted in the fifth and seventh rounds -- 14 combined -- than any team in the league. The Saints have four starters drafted in the fifth, most in the league and well above average (1.4).Based on my most recent starting lineups, New Orleans is the only team in the league without one of its own draft choices starting at linebacker. They have patched the position with free-agent veterans such as Jonathan Vilma, Scott Shanle and Scott Fujita.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Understanding an NFL team is tough without understanding the team's roster and how it works. This is a subject I'll hit on occasionally as we get a better feel for how the teams in this division operate, and how each compares to other teams across the league.
If we learn enough about rosters, we can better explain and sometimes even predict what a team might do. Sometimes we can find out information about teams that the teams themselves might not know.
Looking at the 49ers, for instance, we see they are carrying a league-high 16 players from college programs currently affiliated with the Big 12 conference, twice the league average and eight times as many as the Giants are carrying, by my count. Eleven of the players Seattle has drafted are from the ACC, a league high. By my count, none of New Orleans' drafted players are from teams currently aligned with the ACC.
Or we might notice that one team is significantly older than others in a certain area, or one team drafts better than others at a certain position, or one team favors heavier players at a certain position. The more of those things we know, the better chance we have at keeping pace.
Warning/disclaimer: This stuff isn't for everyone. My wife rolls her eyes every time I dive into this stuff, but that's the way it goes. If you're not a certifiable die-hard, be warned. But if you follow a team in this division and want to become better acquainted with that team's DNA, pull up a chair. I'll periodically make available an Excel-based version of your team's current roster, complete with numerous summary breakdowns and 26 sortable columns of information per player.
Download the first one here, for the 49ers.
Having the information in a program such as Excel makes the information usable as opposed to viewable, always a plus.
I'm continually refining these rosters, and occasionally I'll find something that needs adjusting. At the bottom you'll find players who have been released or placed on injured reserve. You'll see players brought in for free-agent visits, etc.
Please make your comments, questions, criticisms and the like known through the comments or via the mailbag. The feedback is appreciated and helpful. Oh, and if you do not have Excel, you might be able to use Microsoft's free viewer.