JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There apparently is a magic number in the NFL: 27.
ESPN Stats & Information studied all the Pro Bowl selections since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 and determined that 27-year-old players made the Pro Bowl rosters more than any other age. The 27-year-olds comprised 11.6 percent of the rosters.
So if 27 is the prime age for NFL players, the Jaguars are in luck. They’ve got 14 players on the roster who will be 27 years old when the Pro Bowl selections are announced, including several of the team’s top players.
Running back Toby Gerhart and defensive tackles Ziggy Hood, Sen'Derrick Marks and Roy Miller have already turned 27. The Jaguars added Gerhart to become their featured back. Marks is coming off a career season, while Miller fought through a shoulder injury throughout 2013 and had offseason surgery to repair the injury. Hood was another free agent signing added to rotate with Marks and provide interior pass rush.
In addition, defensive end Tyson Alualu, tight end Clay Harbor, safety Chris Prosinski and offensive tackle Sam Young also have turned 27 this year. Alualu, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, now backs up free agent signee Red Bryant. Harbor is the team’s top flex tight end, Prosinski is a key special teams contributor and Young is battling for a reserve spot.
Receiver Cecil Shorts and linebacker Geno Hayes are among the players who will turn 27 this season. Shorts, who led the team in receptions last season, is returning from sports hernia surgery. Hayes played much of the 2013 season with a knee injury, had surgery to correct the problem, and remains the starter at weakside linebacker.
Offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield, guard Jacques McClendon and quarterback Ricky Stanzi also will turn 27. McClendon is competing for the starting spot at right guard. Bradfield appears to be set as the top reserve at tackle.