Ranking NFL teams by depth

Green Bay, Pittsburgh have depth; Oakland, Indianapolis lack it

Originally Published: August 15, 2012
By Rivers McCown | Football Outsiders
Aaron RodgersJeff Hanisch/US PresswireThe Packers need depth behind Aaron Rodgers, but they have it everywhere else.

One of the biggest differences between the NFL and other major professional sports is that a star player can only take you so far in football. In the NBA, teams plan for years to try to either trade or acquire big-name players. Major League Baseball isn't quite as star-driven, but franchise players still make a disproportionate amount of the sport's money.

In the NFL, in which 11 players take the field for each side and substitution packages have grown in importance every year, you're only as good as your weakest link. It's the reason why teams such as the Washington Redskins have stayed mostly irrelevant despite bringing in huge free-agent signings every year, and it's the reason why the teams below have distinct advantages (or disadvantages) in competing for a playoff berth this season.

Here are the teams with the most (and least) depth in the NFL:

Most depth

Green Bay Packers

Let's get this out of the way: No, the Packers no longer have one of the best backup quarterbacks in the game in Matt Flynn, and Graham Harrell and rookie seventh-rounder B.J. Coleman are untested. (Though Coleman is highly regarded by FO's own Matt Waldman.) As long as Aaron Rodgers stays healthy, though, there's depth everywhere else.


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Rivers McCown

Football Outsiders
Rivers McCown is an associate editor for Football Outsiders.