NFL Roster Breakdown: Veteran Home Turf

National Recruiting Analyst Jamie Newberg looks at the home states, regions and colleges of current NFL veterans with four years or more in the league. How does your state rate in producing football old timers?

Related stories: NFL Rosters Breakdown Series
Part 1 - Daddy, where are NFL players from?
Part 2 - Where do student-athletes major in the NFL?
Part 3 - Drafted vs Undrafted Players
Part 4 – Positional Breakdowns of the NFL: Where are they from?
Part 6 – Top NFL Producing High Schools


• There are 2,178 players that currently play in the National Football League. Most reside on one of the 32 franchise rosters. 320 players live on the practice squad. Various other players are on the injured reserve, suspension or fall under another non-playing commissioner’s list.

• It’s a young man’s game. 57.3% (1,248 players) are rookies, second or third year players. By contrast, 6.2% (136 players) have been in the NFL for 10 seasons or greater.

• In this exercise, I take a look at the veteran players of the NFL and where they are from. I throw out rookies and players in their second or third seasons in the NFL. What is left is a pool of 930 players with four or more years of wear and tear.

• Below you will find statistics of where these 930 players are from – states, areas within the states and colleges. Do these numbers run parallel with my earlier findings where I look at all players on current NFL rosters?

I had a conversation with my boss regarding my NFL Roster breakdown series and he gave me a suggestion of looking at the rosters in a different way. He wanted me to throw out the playerss that don’t make it in the league and look at the players that have a sustained career in the NFL. His line of thinking is that only so many rookies and young players hold on and play in the NFL.

This feature explores the NFL roster data of fourth year and older players, where they are from by state, areas of the state(s) and what colleges are producing such players.

In the end, most of the numbers will mirror my early findings in parts one and two of this series that appeared on Scout two weeks ago.

There is still no doubt with the power five states – California (128 veteran players), Florida (104), Texas (95), Georgia (50) and Ohio (43). Honestly, it’s amazing how similar the percentages are when you compare the veteran group versus the overall group. 45.2% of all NFL vets are from California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Ohio while if you look at the total roster from head to toe with these five states that number is 45.5%. These five states make up a third of the total population of the United States and almost half of the NFL.

There was a discrepancy with the next five states. New Jersey (33) came in at No. 6 in this exercise followed by Louisiana (31) which was the opposite of the overall pool of players. Alabama (30), Pennsylvania (30), Michigan (29) and Virginia (29) followed in the veteran pool. Here, the state of South Carolina slid from No. 8 in the overall pool to No. 12 in these findings of veterans.

(Click here to view the complete breakdown of the number of NFL veterans on roster.)

To calculate per capita you must divide the number of NFL players per state by that state's population. If you breakdown the figures by basing everything on per capita/state there are some differences in the top 15.

Louisiana comes in on top with a per capita number of 6.68 barely edging out Alabama 6.67. Montana is actually third using per capita with a number of 5.94 although they have significantly less numbers of players. For this exercise Montana has six players compared to Louisiana’s 31 and Alabama’s 30.

South Carolina is fourth with a number of 5.87. Next is Mississippi (5.69), Florida (5.33), Georgia (5.04), Hawaii (5.0), New Jersey (3.72) and Ohio (3.71). These states make up five through ten.

The next five are Texas (3.64), Virginia (3.5), California (3.34), Michigan (2.93) and Tennessee (2.92). Michigan is the one state that had a jump up compared to their per capita number when you looked at the total rosters.

(Click here to view these per capita numbers with the complete rosters per capita numbers from Part 1 of this series.)

When breaking down the veterans of the NFL the first seven areas are identical findings to that of the total pool of players found in part one. For this exercise it’s the following -

1. Southern California 78
2. South Florida 48
3. San Francisco/Sacramento 31
4. Dallas Fort Worth (Texas) 29
5. Houston (Texas) 29
5. Atlanta (Ga.) 29
7. New Orleans/Baton Rouge (La.) 20<

Here is where things look a little different. Next is the District of Columbia (18), Cleveland (18), and East Texas (18) followed by Chicago (17), Florida’s Panhandle (15), Tampa Bay (14), North Jersey (14) and Central Texas (14).

Detroit (13), Phoenix (13), Columbia, S.C. (13), Central Jersey (12), Pittsburgh (11), Birmingham (10), Central Florida (10), Indianapolis (10), Minneapolis/St. Paul (10), and Virginia Beach (10) are the other areas with double digit veterans in the NFL.

If you breakdown these areas by per capita things look much different when looking at the established players of the NFL. Here, you will see some smaller areas or cities amongst the top. Leading the way is Roanoke, Va. (16.18) followed by East Texas (12.41), the Florida Panhandle (12.24), Shreveport, La. (11.34) and New Orleans-Baton Rouge (9.52).

Coming in at No. 6 is followed by Myrtle Beach, S.C. (8.6), Cleveland, Ohio (8.57), Little Rock, Ark. (7.5), Birmingham, Ala. (7.41), and Jackson, Miss. (7.3).

10 of the top 15 areas per capita are from the South.

If you look at the major cities and their metropolitan areas Cleveland leads the way per capita. They are followed by South Florida (5.51), Atlanta (5.29), Indianapolis (5.0), Houston (4.66), Pittsburgh (4.58) Southern California (4.56), Cincinnati (4.29), Dallas-Ft. Worth (4.26) and Central Jersey (4.05).

(Click here to view per capita numbers of the areas that produced NFL veterans )

Would you have guessed that USC, Miami and Texas rank one, two and three respectively in the colleges that have produced the most current NFL veterans? USC is No. 1 at 26 followed by Miami (23) and Texas (22). What’s interesting is that over the past draft or two, it’s not these colleges that are pumping out the prospects. It’s Alabama. It’s Florida State. It’s LSU.

But if you look at the long run of Pete Carroll with the Trojans, Mack Brown in Austin and what the Hurricanes did over a decade ago, their achievements were directly related to the talent that they recruited and developed and later put in the NFL. It’s these guys that have had sustained success on Sundays.

Georgia and LSU are tied with 19 players apiece among the NFL veterans. Then you have a large group at 17 that includes Alabama, FSU, Ohio State, Tennessee and Cal. Yes, it’s Cal near the top of this exercise and much credit needs to go with former Bears coach Jeff Tedford and what he did with that program over an extended period of time.

Florida sits outside the top ten at No. 11 with 16 players followed by Oregon (15) and Wisconsin (15). There are those Badgers again.

The top non-Power Five conference schools are Fresno State (8), Boise State (7), Cincinnati (7), Troy (7) and South Florida (7).

(Click here to view the complete breakdown of each college and the number of veterans they produced.)

Related stories: NFL Rosters Breakdown Series
Part 1 - Daddy, where are NFL players from?
Part 2 - Where do student-athletes major in the NFL?
Part 3 - Drafted vs Undrafted Players
Part 4 – Positional Breakdowns of the NFL: Where are they from?
Part 6 – Top NFL Producing High Schools

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