A depth chart in football refers to a list of the teams roster based on their ranking at their respective position. The depth chart is broken down into twenty-eight positions, eleven being on offense, and eleven on defense and the remaining six on special teams.
At each position, you will find the expected starter as well as their backups. The depth chart has players at each position in the order in which they rank. It will start with the starters then, second string, third-string etc.
Though not all position on the depth chart are going to have a backup. Positions like fullback, kicker, and punter often don’t have anything aside from a starter on the depth chart.
Why Do NFL Teams Release A Depth Chart?
Now that you know what a depth chart is you may be wondering why NFL teams post them. After all it is only beneficial to their opponents to release who will be starting in your next game.
The reason that NFL teams release their depth chart is because they are mandated to based on the NFL media access rules.
Here is what the media access has to say about depth charts:
Every team must produce a credible weekly depth chart for the media beginning no later than the week of its first preseason game and updated weekly through the end of its season. The depth chart must include the 11 offensive positions and the 11 defensive positions a team considers to be in its base units, and it must list expected starters and backups at each of those positions. Listing players at each position on the depth chart in alphabetical order is prohibited
As you can see based on the guidelines the NFL media policy teams must first post their depth chart prior to their first preseason game. After that, they must continue to update and post one each week before their game.
This allows the media to read the depth chart each week. This gives the media better access to the events going on with the teams. This also allows them to determine which players will be starting due to injuries that have occurred over previous weeks.
What Is Depth In Football?
Aside from the depth chart the term “depth” is also used in football. The term depth refers to the quality of players on the time aside from starters.
If a team has great depth they have the ability to lose and starter and put in his back up without missing a beat. Having depth on your football team is especially important later in the season as injuries pile up.