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PFT’s Depth Analysis

Michael Huff, Knowshon Moreno AP

With roster cuts approaching, here is our take on the teams with the strongest and thinnest depth at various positions. One major goal was to find teams that could have more roster-caliber players than roster spots at certain position groups.

In short, a primary focus was looking for useful players who could be waived or released.

Rotoworld and Ourlads’ depth charts were helpful in our analysis, as were Pro Football Focus’ snap counts.

Here is the list, which is subject to change:

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK

Deep: 49ers, Bengals, Browns, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Redskins, Seahawks, Texans, Titans.

Thin: Bills, Falcons, Packers.

RUNNING BACK

Deep: 49ers, Bengals, Broncos, Buccaneers, Eagles, Lions, Packers, Patriots, Ravens, Saints, Seahawks, Titans.

Thin: Browns, Cowboys, Jaguars, Raiders, Vikings.

WIDE RECEIVER

Deep: 49ers, Bills, Browns, Giants, Saints, Seahawks, Titans.

Thin: Jaguars, Jets, Lions, Ravens.

TIGHT END

Deep: Bengals, Broncos, Cowboys, Eagles, Packers.

Thin: Bills, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Jaguars, Ravens, Saints, Seahawks, Steelers.

CENTER

Deep: Cowboys, Titans.

Thin: Dolphins, Giants, Packers, Panthers, Patriots.

GUARD

Deep: Eagles, Ravens, Seahawks, Titans.

Thin: Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Panthers, Raiders.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Deep: Bears, Titans.

Thin: Bills, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, Lions, Panthers, Raiders, Vikings.

FULLBACK

Deep: 49ers, Bengals, Browns, Chiefs, Dolphins, Ravens, Seahawks.

Thin: N/A: numerous teams do not carry a fullback.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE END

Deep: Bengals, Browns, Lions, Packers, Patriots, Seahawks.

Thin: Broncos, Cowboys, Raiders, Titans.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Deep: Giants, Lions. Seahawks, Texans.

Thin: Chargers, Patriots, Raiders.

INSIDE LINEBACKER

Deep: Eagles, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Titans.

Thin: Dolphins, Giants.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Deep: Bills, Cardinals, Packers, Ravens. Seahawks, Texans.

Thin: Bengals, Broncos, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, Patriots, Rams.

CORNERBACK

Deep: 49ers, Bengals, Broncos, Cardinals, Packers, Patriots, Seahawks, Titans.

Thin: Browns, Buccaneers, Eagles, Jets.

SAFETY

Deep: Bills, Broncos, Eagles, Patriots, Titans.

Thin: Bengals, Colts, Giants, Panthers, Ravens.

SPECIAL TEAMS

PUNTER

Deep: Buccaneers, Patriots, Raiders, Steelers.

Thin: None.

KICKER

Deep: Buccaneers, Jets, Lions.

Thin: Packers.

RETURN SPECIALISTS

Deep: Bears, Bills.

Thin: Colts, Redskins.

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58 Responses to “PFT’s Depth Analysis”
  1. jonevans83 says: Aug 25, 2013 6:30 PM

    lol, the Dolphins have one of if not the deepest d line in the league.

  2. mrbigass says: Aug 25, 2013 6:34 PM

    Well, that was just silly………

  3. liddogg33 says: Aug 25, 2013 6:44 PM

    The Seahawks aren’t deep at running back???? Really???? Just lost a LOT of respect for you boys!!!

  4. dynast77 says: Aug 25, 2013 6:54 PM

    The Dolphins are deep at QB while the Eagles are not?

    I’d take Vick, Foles, and Barkley over Tannehill, Moore, and Devlin/Corp any day!

  5. pleasefiregoodell says: Aug 25, 2013 7:03 PM

    Not a very accurate chart IMO

  6. kevo126 says: Aug 25, 2013 7:06 PM

    how are the ravens not deep at FB? they are probably the only team that is going to carry two FB’s. not to mention leach is probably the best FB in the nfl.

    and i think huff, ihedigbo, and elam is pretty deep at safety as well.

  7. Mike Wilkening says: Aug 25, 2013 7:12 PM

    To answer some early questions:

    – I’ll add the Ravens to the FB list. Had them on there, scratched them. I would think they’re keeping both.

    – Adding Seattle to RB list, too.

    One of the goals, as noted, was to try to highlight teams with more roster-caliber players than spots.

  8. handsatlanta says: Aug 25, 2013 7:12 PM

    I love me my Dolphins but let me help straighten you out. They’re not deep at QB or fullback, not thin at center or punter {Brandon Fields may be the best punter they’ve had in my 30 years as a season ticket holder}.

    They’re thinner at guard then they are at offensive tackle. Secondary is thin unless the 2 rooks they drafted turn into players this year — not likely IMO.

    They’re defensive line is as deep as any I’ve seen in the league lately and will probably feed on weaker running games. They’ll also fatigue at the end of tough games if the offense can’t stay on the field.

    Last but not least is the area in which they are most certainly not thin — me.

  9. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 25, 2013 7:13 PM

    One of the rare times I see eye to eye with PFT on the Jaguars. They definitely need receiver depth, although another O lineman and a couple defensive backs would be nice as well.

  10. gbrim says: Aug 25, 2013 7:15 PM

    49ers deep at QB? They have one rising star, and a bunch of nobodies backing him up. Not my definition of deep.

  11. jakec4 says: Aug 25, 2013 7:20 PM

    Don’t see how the Ravens are thin at TE but whatever. Dallas Clark filling in for Pitta this year is pretty comparable. Everyone deserves an opinion I guess.

  12. howiehandles says: Aug 25, 2013 7:23 PM

    Bears not deep at RB? Yet the Packers, with rookies, are?

  13. seattle2toronto12thmanconnection says: Aug 25, 2013 7:27 PM

    What gbrim said. I don’t understand how Colin Kaepernick and no clear cut back up is considered deep at QB and Russell Wilson backed up by probably a top 5 backup QB in the league isn’t.

  14. tabdanger says: Aug 25, 2013 7:27 PM

    The Patriots aren’t deep at QB but the Titans are? Tom Brady equals 3 Andy Dalton’s, 4 Jake Lockers and 5 Brandon Weedens. And Mallet may be better than those starters too..

  15. gurnblanstonreturns says: Aug 25, 2013 7:35 PM

    This list guarantees that no team will be ringing Wilkening’s phone when they need front office help.

  16. mlblogspaxromana says: Aug 25, 2013 7:36 PM

    The Redskins with Alfred Morris, Roy Helu and Keiland Williams are as deep as anyone at running back. The same is true at wide receiver with Leonard Hankerson, Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson. Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have both done a tremendous job building quality depth on their team.

  17. baselman1974 says: Aug 25, 2013 7:48 PM

    How can the Packers not be thin at OT with the loss of Bulaga for the year and Sherrod still not healthy?

  18. atthemurph says: Aug 25, 2013 7:49 PM

    How are the 49ers deep at WR? A 32yr old Anquan Bolden and 14 catch Kyle Williams.

    Or are we supposed to believe that bust they just traded for provides depth?

    Come on. They’re one of the thinnest teams at WR. Perhaps you simply misplaced them?

  19. heeeeelzfan says: Aug 25, 2013 7:52 PM

    And the Jets aren’t thin at Quarterback? Hmmmmmm…that’s news to every Jets fan in the country. Whew! I’m sure they are relieved they don’t have to worry about that position anymore this season. Problem solved.

  20. rasalghoul says: Aug 25, 2013 7:53 PM

    The Packers are not just thin at safety,they are scary thin. 4 total safeties, the best one is injured, another is an undrafted rookie… I love the Packers but that’s the truth.

  21. hounds64 says: Aug 25, 2013 7:54 PM

    Is this strictly a quantity analysis? A stockpile of backups does not equal depth. ex. Browns…FB, QB

  22. moeman79 says: Aug 25, 2013 8:01 PM

    The Lions are deep at the running back position?

  23. Mike Wilkening says: Aug 25, 2013 8:05 PM

    hounds64 says: Aug 25, 2013 7:54 PM (Edit)

    Q: Is this strictly a quantity analysis? A stockpile of backups does not equal depth. ex. Browns…FB, QB

    – One of the goals was to highlight teams with a potential surplus of players at certain positions. Cleveland’s fullback situation was one I thought of pretty quickly, actually.

    Mike

  24. rideaducati says: Aug 25, 2013 8:05 PM

    Niners deep at corner? Deep what?

  25. riflemanlax says: Aug 25, 2013 8:09 PM

    As an Eagles fan, I’d like to know what you consider ‘deep’ at safety…

  26. Mike Wilkening says: Aug 25, 2013 8:11 PM

    Thanks for the comments. I’m reading ‘em. Some good takes.

    – Mike

  27. wholelottaawesome says: Aug 25, 2013 8:12 PM

    Ok I’m a Seahawks fan lets get that out of the way…

    Seahawks should be listed as deep in safety. Yes I are them listed in a lot of other places but in a combined 7 years in the league their 2 safeties have 5 pro bowls and 3 all pro honors. I would put Earl and Kam up against any of those other squads.

    And it looks like the raiders and jets are only in deep trouble past punter and kicker.

  28. revischrist16 says: Aug 25, 2013 8:13 PM

    How are the Bengals deep at QB? I was just watching Hard Knocks and their coaches were discussing how detrimental it would be is Dalton got injured as they don’t trust any of their back-ups.

  29. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 25, 2013 8:21 PM

    Lions seem deep at OT in numbers at least with a festive battle between Corey Hilliard and LaAdrian Waddle. They could end up keeping 4 OTs along with Fox and Reiff, but they have at least 3 for supply. They are also deep enough at LB and CB that they are likely to cut one of their recent draft picks of the last 2 years in each position, if not 2 each, and they just got rid of last year’s 4th Round DE already.

    They also have potentially 4 TEs and there is an injury to the rookie TE Michael Williams, he could end being a candidate for the temporary IR tag to allow them to keep Pettigrew/Scheffler/Fauria as I don’t think they will give up any of them until somebody is ready to trade for one.

  30. dans761 says: Aug 25, 2013 8:24 PM

    Seahawks are deep everywhere. Tight ends are deep, just not a lot of established guys outside Miller are young. I like Luke Willson

  31. spankymcwanky says: Aug 25, 2013 8:28 PM

    How are the Saints thin at TE? You don’t think Jimmy Graham and Benjamin Watson and their 3rd TE aren’t good enough? The Saints will only keep 3 TEs and if you’ve watched the preseason then you’d know that the Saints could do worse than Michael Higgins as a 3rd TE. I don’t know what you people are thinking with some of these evaluations.

  32. quizguy66 says: Aug 25, 2013 8:29 PM

    The Bengals were listed as being at deep at QB because there is a good chance the loser of the Johnson/Skelton battle will catch on with another team as a backup (that will be Skelton btw).

    -QG

  33. ravens533 says: Aug 25, 2013 8:29 PM

    I think you could also say that the Ravens are deep at DE and DT. We are going to have to make some hard choices because we have a lot of good defensive players. We just let a CB go today, so to say we are thin at safety is incorrect. We have a very good secondary. And Webb looked good in the last game. He is coming back fine.

  34. darthraven887 says: Aug 25, 2013 8:40 PM

    I wouldn’t say the Lions are thin at wide receiver, they have Megatron, Burleson, and Broyles at WR. I think that they’re right in the middle right now.

  35. si1m says: Aug 25, 2013 8:46 PM

    Steelers are deep at water boy and salary cap accountants . and busts too if that counts

  36. stevew5 says: Aug 25, 2013 8:47 PM

    The Rams aren’t deep or thin at any position. Interesting.

  37. myhawks1976 says: Aug 25, 2013 8:53 PM

    It’s called reading comprehension peeps. He’s not talking about how many Pro Bowls or All Pro honors starters have acquired.

    This is a list of what teams have NFL quality talent at said position that will be cut in the next 6 days due to excess depth.

    As a Seahawks fan, please don’t make us all look insecure guys. The whole world knows the Legion of Boom is badass, and devastating. Let’s stay on topic.

    All that being said, I agree on the Seahawks takes for the most part, but two positions. I don’t see us being in excess of NFL qb talent. I think KC fans would probably agree Quinn is not NFL talent.

    I also disagree that we have excess inside LB talent. The starters are solid, but a couple injuries could hurt real bad. Outside LB may be deep… I think Irvins transition to LB will be significant in the depth there.

  38. thirdistheworrd says: Aug 25, 2013 8:56 PM

    seattle2toronto12thmanconnection says: Aug 25, 2013 7:27 PM

    What gbrim said. I don’t understand how Colin Kaepernick and no clear cut back up is considered deep at QB and Russell Wilson backed up by probably a top 5 backup QB in the league isn’t.
    _________________
    While I totally agree with you on the 49ers, who exactly are you calling a top 5 backup? First off, the whole idea of a “top-anything backup” is kind of stupid. Either way, as much as I loved watching the Irish under Brady Quinn, he’s not even good enough for me to take the time to make a “Now I’m done” joke.

    So Tarvaris Jackson, then? A top 5 backup? Kyle Orton, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Mallett, Nick Foles, Matt Moore, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Hasselbeck, TJ Yates, Chad Henne, Matt Cassell, Jason Campbell. While Tarvaris could probably start for the Jets, that’s 11 backups who are undeniably superior players.

  39. milesrunner262 says: Aug 25, 2013 9:03 PM

    The Cowboys currently have 4 running back who have all shown promise in the off/preseason but they are thin there? They are begging guys to come out of retirement to play guard for them yet that isn’t a thin spot? Part of the reason their RB’s aren’t putting up bigger numbers is their crap line’s fault and not the RB themselves…in my opinion.

  40. FlashPatterson says: Aug 25, 2013 9:07 PM

    So the 49ers are deep at WR huh? Name four that aren’t injured.

  41. floriostoupee says: Aug 25, 2013 9:10 PM

    i can’t understand how the jets are not listed as thin at the qb position. this coming from a jet fan.

  42. swive says: Aug 25, 2013 9:24 PM

    The Lions have Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill, and Kellen Moore at QB. Shaun Hill is one of the best backup QBs in the NFL, has stepped in for Stafford and won games (62% lifetime completion percent, TD/INT ratio of 41/23. Kellen Moore record in college? 51-3.

    That’s pretty deep at QB…

  43. thirdistheworrd says: Aug 25, 2013 9:35 PM

    mlblogspaxromana says: Aug 25, 2013 7:36 PM

    The Redskins with Alfred Morris, Roy Helu and Keiland Williams are as deep as anyone at running back. The same is true at wide receiver with Leonard Hankerson, Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson. Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have both done a tremendous job building quality depth on their team.
    ____________________
    I agree that the Redskins should be listed as deep at both RB and WR, but listing Hankerson and Keiland Williams is not going to sell your point. While Hankerson has a lot of promise, he’s far from a household name, and Keiland Williams is about as likely to make the squad as I am.

    Why not something like this– Without the unbelievable performances of Griffin, Wilson, and Luck, Alfred Morris would have been the clear ROTY last season, while Roy Helu, and Evan Royster have never rushed for less than 100 yards in a game they’ve started. Mike Shanahan is known for finding outstanding tailback talent late in the draft, and with two well-regarded late round backs in the mix with the three second and third-year players, it’s difficult to argue that the Redskins are anything short of thick at the hakfback position.

  44. samoanjungle says: Aug 25, 2013 9:44 PM

    As a Bengals fan even I must disagree that we are deep at QB – it’s rather scary to say the least if something happened to Dalton.

  45. explosionsauce says: Aug 25, 2013 9:58 PM

    49ers are about as deep as a kiddy pool at WR.

  46. stairwaytoharvin says: Aug 25, 2013 10:06 PM

    I scanned the comments but didn’t see any about the Vikings being thin at RB… they have the reigning MVP and a former heisman runner up 2nd round pick as a backup who could (potentially) start for the Colts, Panthers, Broncos, and the Steelers.

  47. seattle2toronto12thmanconnection says: Aug 25, 2013 10:26 PM

    thirdistheworrd – So Tarvaris Jackson, then? A top 5 backup? Kyle Orton, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Mallett, Nick Foles, Matt Moore, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Hasselbeck, TJ Yates, Chad Henne, Matt Cassell, Jason Campbell. While Tarvaris could probably start for the Jets, that’s 11 backups who are undeniably superior players.

    I never said top backup in the NFL, I said top 5 so yes you do have some names mentioned that are indeed as desirable or more so than Tarvaris Jackson but a portion of your list is just ridiculous.

    We’ll start with the quality back ups you mentioned that I believe to be more desirable than Tarvaris Jackson

    Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel are both veteran QBs who have performed at a high level for at least two seasons, (awful in others) but I would have confidence in them coming in to manage.

    Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins are both young QBs with little to no NFL experience, but showed promise and played decent in the games they did play in.

    Matt Moore is a veteran QB with a small amount of starting experience, but has shown he can lead a team.

    These five QBs I would agree with you that they would be more desirable than Tarvaris.

    Now to the washed up tier of QBs you listed.

    First off, I love Hasselbeck. Always will. That being said I would not want a 37 year old who once pulled a hammy running into an endzone untouched to be my primary backup. Two years ago, different story.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick – The dude had one of his better seasons statistically and still got let go, even with a big amount of g’teed money on the books. Obviously not starter level, and obviously they wanted someone who didn’t have a limp noodle for an arm to play QB for them.

    Jason Campbell – Did you watch the Niners-Bears game last year? Jason Campbell is waaaay on the decline.

    Now to the fun part.

    Chad Henne – The fact that you listed as a top 10 backup QB in the NFL a man who couldn’t beat out Blaine Gabbert doesn’t do much to show off your football acumen.

    T.J. Yates – while T.J. Yates did have a good time backing up Matt Schaub in 2011, last season was less than stellar and now there is noise of Case Keenum passing him on the depth chart.

    My favorite: Ryan Mallet – 0 starts and 0 tds thrown with 1 interception. The dude has thrown four passes in the NFL (I know because I actually had to look up his career stats). Four passes and you think he is a better back up than a man who played the bulk of a season with a torn pectoralis on his throwing side and a sieve for an o-line and performed at a decent level?

    So your right, My top 5 comment was wrong and off-base. Top Six.

  48. TheWizard says: Aug 26, 2013 12:00 AM

    The Patriots 3rd quarterback has more Bronco playoff wins than Peyton Manning.

    That’s deep.

  49. fargovikesfan says: Aug 26, 2013 12:24 AM

    How the hell are the Vikings “thin” at RB? They have the best RB in the NFL (if not the best player period), Gerhart could be a starter for any number of teams, plus some promising young guys that were brought in this year.

  50. thirdistheworrd says: Aug 26, 2013 1:49 AM

    seattle2toronto12thmanconnection says:
    Aug 25, 2013 10:26 PM
    ___________
    Touche. Well-written and Fair arguments on all the quarterbacks I listed. And I know you didn’t say “top backup quarterback”, I was saying that trying to rank backups is like ranking Creed albums or Rob Schneider movies.

    My main point was that these are all quarterbacks who have at one time been starters in the NFL for more than one consecutive game, or younger guys who have shown the ability to challenge for a starting job in the future. I don’t believe Jackson has ever deserved a spot as a starting quarterback, and now that he’s beginning to get up in years I doubt he could even challenge for a starting spot on more than two teams in the league.

    I should not have said “undeniably better”, that’s a little too harsh, but I think all these guys would qualify as a deeper QB bullpen than Jackson does. That certainly doesn’t mean Seattle is thin at QB, but they aren’t thick either.

    If I drop Henne, Campbell, and TJ Yates, can we just go on to discuss how firetrucking absurd it is that the 49ers are “deep” at WR? May be the most ridiculous thing I have ever read in a football article. SF is a very strong team, but they have far and away the weakest wideout corps in the league. The Titans and Giants really need to be booted from that list too.

    Lastly, I strongly dislike both the Pats and the Razorbacks, but if you watch some tape on Mallett, he kid has tons of raw talent, and if he ever got a real shot, he could be very good.

  51. icdogg says: Aug 26, 2013 3:13 AM

    So I guess the desired result isn’t really a depth list. We don’t care if the Eagles have 4 tight ends if they plan on keeping them all. We want to know what team has a spare tight end with NFL experience and is likely to trade one if they can or waive one if they can’t. And the same for every other position.

    So if a team is looking for a corner, they might want to follow, say, Seattle’s waiver wire. We don’t necessarily know which corner(s) they’re going to let go, but they are probably going to let go of one or more.

  52. billyz77 says: Aug 26, 2013 4:13 AM

    Very nicely reported, Mr. Wilkening. I thought you did a superb job on every position. Except one. While I’m not the world’s biggest Seahawk fan, I do watch all of their games as I live in the Great Pacific Northwest and I have no choice, and I believe that they should be listed as deep at Safety. Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas by themselves make that a position of abundance. Other than that oversight, you did some very credible research. Thank you. I enjoyed your article very much. Go Saints!! (and Seahawks, too, I suppose.)

  53. stevequinn says: Aug 26, 2013 5:27 AM

    The Rams are 1 deep at QB. There’s Bradford then there’s nothing.

  54. shackdelrio says: Aug 26, 2013 7:08 AM

    Running back is one of the few spots where the Jaguars actually have depth. Jones-Drew, Justin Forsett, Denard Robinson. Their fourth stringer, Jordan Todman, had over 100 yards rushing the other night.

  55. homelanddefense says: Aug 26, 2013 10:58 AM

    Since the Patriots are deep at CB and Safety (with more qualified guys than roster spots) I would expect them to have a great pass defense this year!

    Or not….

  56. wecomefromthestars says: Aug 26, 2013 12:38 PM

    The Lions are deep at QB compared to most NFL teams. Shaun Hill is an oustanding #2.

    Also Detroit is THIN at the Outside LB spot(s).

    As long as you guys keep working on this list, it could be alright..

  57. americasteamthenewyorkfootballgiants says: Aug 26, 2013 11:14 PM

    so u dont think JPP, Tuck, Kiwi, Demonster Moore (going to be a steal) is a deep group of d ends? even Ojomo our 5th D End who is in his second year and being groomed right now shows a lot of promise. not to mention we have certain sets that split cullen jenkins out to end. pretty sure thats a solid group

  58. blueintheface12 says: Aug 29, 2013 1:12 PM

    Colts have the highest upside in their tight end duo in Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener in the AFC, I believe. Dramatically different in their abilities, both are playmakers who have the potential to emerge as the top TE duo in the AFC with Gronk and Hernandez not working together in NE. Both are coming into their 2nd year, and both are touted as potential break out stars across many respected analysts. if depth at TE means 3 solid players, however, then I suppose I see the reason for the omission.

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