According to PhillyVoice, the Detroit Lions have the second-youngest roster in the NFL after each team’s initial cutdown to 53 players on Tuesday afternoon. According to their calculations, the Lions’ average age on the roster is just 25.2 years old, only a 10th of a year behind the youngest team in NFL: the also-rebuilding New York Jets. For reference, the oldest team in the NFL is the Chicago Bears, whose average roster age is 27.0 years old.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell acknowledged the team’s youth in a radio interview on the Tiki and Tierney Show after Tuesday’s cuts, noting both the positives and the negatives.
“We are a young team. Young, young team.” Campbell said. “So we have a lot of youth, we have a lot of energy, but we’re a little green. We’re green in a lot of areas.”
One area of particular youth is the Lions’ secondary, where the unit will lean heavily on Jeff Okudah, Detroit’s third overall pick from 2020 who is just 22 years old. Okudah won’t have the benefit of a veteran player in the secondary, seeing as the oldest cornerback is third-year player Amani Oruwariye, and the oldest safety is Dean Marlowe, the one member of Detroit’s secondary above 26 years old.
But with youth also likely brings growth. For a team that is rebuilding—whether they want to admit it or not—youth is important for the future, and a lot of these green players will leave the 2021 season with some valuable experience. That being said, there’s a reason expectations are low this year. Inexperience leads to mistakes, and the Lions’ roster will certainly go through some learning experiences this season.
Of course, there’s a high likelihood that the age of the Lions’ roster changes in the next couple days, as Detroit is expected to add new players via the waiver wire. Still, their core will remain extremely young.