Earlier this week, we took a look at the San Francisco 49ers offensive line from a snap-weighted age angle. The team had the second oldest offensive line last season, but some changes late in the season likely mean it will get younger in 2016.
Following that article, our friends at Bolts from the Blue put together a snap-weighted look at the linebacker units around the league. This covered inside/middle and outside linebackers. It's coming up with an average age, so it should not matter whether a team has four linebackers for their 3-4, or three linebackers for their 4-3.
For this group, the 49ers finished in the middle of the pack at No. 14, with a snap-weighted age of 26.46. Looking back at the defensive snap count for the linebackers, here is how they broke down, courtesy of Football Outsiders (age in parenthesis):
NaVorro Bowman (27): 1101, 96.5%
Aaron Lynch (22): 796, 69.8%
Ahmad Brooks (31): 744, 65.2%
Michael Wilhoite (29): 617, 54.1%
Gerald Hodges (25): 366, 32.1%
Eli Harold (22): 337, 29.5%
Corey Lemonier (24): 272, 23.8%
Shayne Skov (25): 8, 0.7%
Nick Bellore (26): 7, 0.6%
For those wondering, Football Outsiders listed Tank Carradine with 224 snaps, which accounted for 19.6% of defensvie snaps. He's 26. I don't believe he was counted in the LB snaps given that he was transitioning more to an edge rusher role than 3-4 outside linebacker role.
I forgot that Wilhoite is the age he is. He was the oldest inside linebacker, and the second oldest overall linebacker. The 49ers could very well get younger at the position if they draft Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith. And if instead Hodges earns the starting nod over Wilhoite, that would also drop the snap-weighted age. It is worth noting that Hodges turned 25 in January, and Wilhoite turned 29 in December.
The team could still end up releasing Ahmad Brooks, although he has managed to survive this long, so who knows. Ideally we see Eli Harold emerge as the starter opposite Aaron Lynch and that brings the average down that much further.