The DRAFTMETRICS definition of a starter is someone who started at least eight games. For purposes of this article, a player must have started eight games or more in 2012. This excludes such players as Brian Cushing and Troy Polamalu who missed games due to injury and players such as Colin Kaepernick who earned a starting position later in the season, but not soon enough to meet the DRAFTMETRICS definition.
No attempt was made to factor such players into the starter information shown in this article. While there are some obvious example such as Cushing, Polamalu and Kaepernick , it would simply require too much conjecture to make allowancesfor all injured or late-starting players. In addition to the focus on number of starters, DRAFTMETRICS presentsinformation by playing position so that the reader can get a better sense of what a team’s needs may be.
DRAFTMETRICS compiled information for the tables on the next two pages of this article. The first table shows the number of 2012 starters retained on the 2013 roster by playing position. The second includes
acquisitions of starters during the offseason. For example, the first table reflects the fact that the 49ers return 19 starters from their 2012 roster. The second table shows that the 49ers acquired Craig Dahl (free agency) and Anquan Boldin (trade), bringing the total number of 2012 starters on their 2013 roster to 21.
The second table shows that, as of this point of free agency, 21 of the 32 NFL teams have either retained or acquired 18 or more starters. The Titans lead the way with 25 starters and the Jets bring up the rear with only 12 starters. The teams are be divided into several categories based on the number of 2012 starters on their 2013 roster at this point in time.
The Titans have signed eight free agents who were starters during the 2012 season. Will that serve as the springboard to 2013 success? It is also interesting to note that six 2012 playoff teams have 21 or more starters on their current roster, possibly a scary thought for other teams in pursuit of the playoffs.