Roster Tidbits … Labor Day Cup O’Chiefs

One of the best parts of getting to hang around pro football teams for 30-plus years is the collection of stories that can be found in every locker room, in every season.

NFL players don’t just come from one part of the country. There are not physical, mental or emotional templates when it comes to reaching the highest level of the game. Pull together 53 men and there’s no way that diversity doesn’t dominate the discussion.

There are big city guys working next to farm boys. It’s black and white together. There are smart guys, with high IQs and not so smart guys who have trouble functioning in the world. There are really big guys, and really little guys.

And every year, the deck of roster cards gets shuffled again. No team stays the same from year to year; the only constant in the league is change. As teams begin to lock down their regular season rosters, the group of men they pull together tells a new story of themselves and what the team might be in the 16 weeks ahead.

Like the Chiefs and their 53-man roster that didn’t go 24 hours without changing. They claimed NT Anthony Toribio off the waiver wire from Green Bay. To create a spot on the roster, WR Quinten Lawrence was released. More changes may come down this week, and certainly there’s a chance that more could come after the first game.

The rosters of struggling and rebuilding football teams are always very fluid, but we enjoyed a sunny Sunday afternoon picking apart the 2010 Chiefs roster and finding out more about the second edition of Pioli/Haley football. Here are the facts; I’ll let you decide what type of picture it paints.  

CALL IT SLOW CHANGE: Under Pioli/Haley the Chiefs have gone through two drafts, two cycles of free agency and now two runs through the waiver wire after the regular-season roster limit of 53 players was reached. Yet, 43.4 percent of the roster is held over from the previous regime. There have been only 30 names added in the last two years by Pioli/Haley. Considering the team’s record the last three seasons and the complete change in culture that was brought by the new folks, the number of holdover players should be smaller, possibly much smaller. That it’s not is testimony to not only the talent, but the personality of the holdover players. Maybe the cupboard wasn’t quite as bare as everyone thought.

GOING LOW, GOING HIGH: This roster stands on average at 6-feet, 2 inches. The tallest player is TE Leonard Pope at 6-8. The smallest player is WR Dexter McCluster at 5-8. Both would rank among the tallest and smallest players in the NFL this season.

TIPPING THE SCALES OR NOT: As it stands now, the average Chiefs player weighs 246 pounds. The heaviest player is RT Ryan O’Callaghan at 330 pounds. The lightest is McCluster, at 170 pounds. There are nine players who are listed at 300 pounds or more, and there are nine players listed as weighing less than 200 pounds.

THEY ARE A YOUNG BUNCH: At the current time, the average age of the Chiefs roster is 25.9 years, which should make them one of the younger teams in the league. The oldest player is C Casey Wiegmann, who enjoyed his 37th birthday back in late July. The youngest player is S Eric Berry, who will not turn 22 until December 29th. There are 29 players who are 25 years or younger; that’s 55 percent of the team. There are eight players who are 30 or older; that’s 15 percent of the roster.

THEY ALSO DON’T HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE: Right now, the roster average is 4.1 seasons in the league. Wiegmann is the most veteran player, in his 15th season; there are 10 rookies on the list, the seven draft choices and three rookie free agents. Right now, there are 30 players who have three seasons of experience or less, or 57 percent of the roster. There are six players with 10 seasons or more of playing in the league, or 11 percent. The spot where there’s a big hole in the roster are players with four to nine years of experience – there are only 17, or 32 percent.

WHERE DO THEY COME FROM – COLLEGE DIVISION: Without a doubt, the Chiefs are a team that likes players out of the SEC; that’s 17 of the 53 players, including five from LSU and four from Alabama. It’s a big drop from there to the Big 10 Conference with eight players and then the Big 12 Conference with six players. They also have six players from the Football Championship Series (FCS); that’s the old Division I-AA. They have two players from Division II, one from Division III and one from Canadian college football.

WHERE DO THEY COME FROM – HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION: On the current roster, the 53 players played their high school ball in 20 different states and one Canadian province. Texas and Florida topped the list with seven each, Illinois has five and California, Alabama and Louisiana each contributed four players each.

HOW DID THEY GET TO THE CHIEFS? The current 53 has 23 players that were selected in the NFL Draft by the Chiefs. That’s 43 percent. There are 15 players that are so-called street free agents – it means they were released by at least one other NFL team before signing with the Chiefs. That’s 28 percent. There are seven players that signed with the Chiefs as undrafted college free agent, there are four unrestricted free agents, two players claimed on waivers and two via trade.

WHAT ABOUT THE DRAFT? Right now 34 of the 53 players entered the NFL through the annual draft. There are eight former first-round choices, five from the second-round and nine from the third-round. That’s 22 players from the draft’s money rounds at one through three. The numbers also show that 19 players or 36 percent of the roster was not selected in the NFL Draft. One – rookie LB Cory Greenwood – was selected in the Canadian Football League Draft.

6 Responses to “Roster Tidbits … Labor Day Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 6, 2010  - rufus says:

    nice write bob. I wish every man & woman in the country would read this for a reminder diversity is not only multi-colored but it has all IQ’s too.

  • September 6, 2010  - Brandon says:

    Bob, very interesting stats about the team keeping around a large portion of the team. How does this compare with other teams that are or have rebooted in recent years?

    Also, is C. Greenwood the red head? Someone on the sideline had some flaming red/orange hair for the Packers game.

  • September 6, 2010  - MarkInTexas says:

    Good stuff, Bob. Only 17 players with 4-9 years of experience hurts. By comparison the Saints have 32 and the Chargers have 33.

    That vacuum is a painful indictment of previous drafts and of a failed Herm/Carl strategy of blowing up and rebuilding from scratch. There aren’t enough draft picks or quality free agency opportunities to fill a championship roster from scratch. The Chiefs have been in a vicious cycle of being too old or too young.

    Building slowly is frustrating, but the NFL system of drafts and free agency restrictions spreads out talent by design. The only way to “beat the system” is to overpay for free agents. Ask Dan Snyder how that is working out. Free agency is great for a specific need (see Drew Brees), but not for building a roster.

    Hopefully Pioli will more agressively add key pieces in free agency once the team gets closer to playoff quality. In the meantime, there is no room for error in the next couple drafts. Failure means replanting after another nuclear winter.

  • September 6, 2010  - aPauled says:

    >>”Yet, 43.4 percent of the roster is held over from the previous regime. There have been only 30 names added in the last two years by Pioli/Haley.”

    My count is 34 new players added since the failed Herm Experiment (19 players, 36% held over). 9 of the 19 were Rookies in Herm’s last year. 64% is pretty drastic in 2 years.

    What is disturbing is that 10 of the 22 starters plus Colquitt are holdovers.

  • September 6, 2010  - Nate says:

    Bob It is evident in your writings that you have a disliike for Pioli. I think it colors your writings. Sure there were some good players from the previous regime, but there sure weren’t enough or Herm and Carl would still be here. 43% turnover is 23 players. Pioli has had 14 or 15 draft choices in his 2 drafts here, and he has added another 8 or 9 thru trade, waiver wire and undrafted free agents. HIs first draft was a disappointment, but when he had enough time to prepare for the second, I think he hit a home run. Where would you suggest he get the additional players you seem to think he should have? I appreciate your writings Bob! Nate

  • September 6, 2010  - MarkInTexas says:

    Vegas has the over/under on Chiefs wins at 6.5. I’ll take the over, but it does indicate about where the team is going into 2010.

    I would take a progression in wins from 2009-2012 at 4, 7, 9 and 11. If that happens, then the Pioli/Haley team will be intact and darlings of the fans and media. A 4, 6, 7 progression has Haley looking for work, even if a lack of talent is the root cause.

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