An NFL roster will never be younger in years and larger in numbers than it is in May, June and July.
The New England Patriots’ falls right in line.
With 90 players in the fold, and 24 of them rookies between the 20-man undrafted and four-man draft class, the average age of the group can be misleading. Right now for the Patriots, it’s 25.2.
But 49 of them are under 25 years old, and only eight of them are in the select 30-and-over club. That is, at least for now.
Here’s a closer look at the age brackets as calendar shifts to June and additional birthdays follow.
21 – LeShun Daniels Jr, D.J. Killings, Kenny Moore, Corey Vereen
The four youngest players on the Patriots’ roster all signed as rookie free agents last month. Daniels Jr., a running back by way of Iowa, is set to turn 22 on June 4. His father, LeShun Daniels Sr., was on a 1996 Ohio State team that included eventual Patriots in Andy Katzenmoyer and Mike Vrabel.
22 – Josh Augusta, Brooks Ellis, Deatrich Wise Jr.
There’s only a trio of 22-year-olds to account for at this moment, but Wise Jr. is the youngest member of New England’s 2017 draft picks. The former Arkansas Razorbacks defensive end and Patriots fourth-round choice will be 23 years old on July 26.
23 – Trevor Bates, Malcom Brown, Adam Butler, Austin Carr, Brandin Cooks, Sam Cotton, Cole Croston, Trey Flowers, D.J. Foster, Tony Garcia, Cody Hollister, Jacob Hollister, Andrew Jelks, Cyrus Jones, David Jones, Jonathan Jones, Brandon King, Jason King, Devin Lucien, Shaq Mason, Max Rich, Derek Rivers, Elandon Roberts, Dwayne Thomas, Jason Thompson, Damarius Travis, Vincent Valentine
The 23-year-olds make up the largest age group on the Patriots. Currently, there are 27 of them, including a two-time 1,000-yard receiver in Cooks, who is entering his fourth NFL season and won’t turn 24 until Sept. 25. Cooks, in essence, is the same age as 15 of his rookie teammates.
24 – David Andrews, Jacoby Brissett, Justin Coleman, Chase Farris, Cameron Fleming, Geneo Grissom, Glenn Gronkowski, Woodrow Hamilton, Ted Karras, Harvey Langi, Conor McDermott, Malcolm Mitchell, Jordan Richards, Eric Rowe, Joe Thuney
There are another 15 Patriots who check in at 24 years old. Langi, the team’s highest-paid undrafted signing, and sixth-rounder McDermott, are the lone first-year pros in this tier. Andrews, Coleman, Fleming, Grissom, Richards and Rowe are preparing for their third seasons.
25 – Joe Cardona, Jamil Douglas, Kony Ealy, Jimmy Garoppolo, Darius Kilgo, James O’Shaughnessy, LaAdrian Waddle, DeAndrew White, James White
Nine 25-year-olds reside in Foxborough. Two second-round picks and a fourth-rounder from the 2014 draft are among them in Ealy, Garoppolo and the latter White, who signed a three-year, $12 million extension this April.
26 – Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee, Stephon Gilmore, Duron Harmon, Matt Lengel, Dion Lewis, Kyle Van Noy
Some notable offseason arrivals are among the 26-year-olds. Burkhead, Gillislee and Gilmore signed as free agents over the course of the last three months. As for Lengel and Van Noy, they unpacked their bags with the Patriots in the midst of the 2016 season.
27 – Dwayne Allen, Ryan Allen, Brandon Bolden, Malcolm Butler, James Ferentz, Jonathan Freeny, Lawrence Guy, Dont’a Hightower, Shea McClellin
There’s nine 27-year-olds on the Patriots’ roster to begin the summer. Allen, Ferentz and Guy are the only ones in this assortment who have yet to log a snap for New England. Hightower and Butler, on the other hand, combined for 1,716 on defense last season alone.
28 – James Develin, Nate Ebner, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan
By age 28, the Patriots’ population begins to thin out, leaving a core. Gronkowski, who set a Patriots franchise record by scored the 69th regular-season touchdown of his career in 2016, turned 28 on May 14.
29 – Marcus Cannon, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, Nate Solder
Cannon, Chung, McCourty and Solder are all 29 years old, and all four are “homegrown,” having entered the league as Patriots draft picks from 2009 through 2011. New England’s two starting safeties, Chung and McCourty, will reach age 30 before the 2017 campaign kicks off.
31 – Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Andrew Hawkins, Matthew Slater
Four 31-year-olds. Four wide receivers. Hawkins is the only fresh-faced veteran in this section of the roster, having signed on at the tail end of May. Amendola, Edelman and Slater, in contrast, have a combined 21 seasons as members of the Patriots under their belt.
32 – Alan Branch
The elder statesmen of the interior defensive line is Branch, who turned 32 on Dec. 29 and reached a two-year, $12 million pact to return to the club less than three months later. Branch is set to embark on his fourth go-round with the Patriots and has been in the league since 2007.
33 – Stephen Gostkowski, Rob Ninkovich
Gostkowski and Ninkovich are not only two of the oldest Patriots, the kicker and the edge-rusher are also two of the longest-tenured. Gostkowski was selected by New England in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, while Ninkovich signed on as training camp got underway in 2009.
39 – Tom Brady
No surprises here. The NFL’s oldest active non-specialist will celebrate his 40th birthday on the practice fields Aug. 3. Brady was a redshirt at Michigan in 1995, the same year more than a handful of Patriots rookies were born. By 1996, his Wolverines even faced the father of one of them, the Buckeyes’ Daniels Sr.