Spotting trends in NFL roster composition

Tony Villiotti puts together interesting NFL breakdowns on his website, draftmetrics.com.

His latest study ranks current NFL rosters by total starts in 2012. Subtotals show how many of those starts come from holdover players vs. those acquired this offseason.

2012 Starts For Players Retained, Added

The Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals rank among the top six in total 2012 starts by players on their rosters right now. The St. Louis Rams rank 31st.

The low ranking for the Rams reflects the team's plan to develop young players by committing significant playing time to them in 2013. Also, the team's two free-agent additions, Jake Long and Jared Cook, combined to start only 17 games last season (12 by Long, five by Cook).

Seattle is first and San Francisco third in 2012 starts by players held over from last season. Such large totals for teams coming off playoff seasons and blessed with promising quarterbacks validate high expectations for these teams.

The Tennessee Titans rank first in total starts because the players they have added started a league-high 112 games last season. That includes games started by projected backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The players Arizona has added combined to start 93 games last season, the second-highest total for players new to a roster this offseason.

The figures in the chart will continue to fluctuate as the offseason progresses. They give us a feel for roster composition and trends. Teams have so far retained players averaging 263 total starts last season out of a possible 352 per team.