Matthew Stafford is now the oldest projected offensive starter on Lions

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It’s crazy how time goes by. When Matthew Stafford took the field for the Detroit Lions for the first time he was just a young man. Now, he is one of the veteran leaders on the Lions offense.

The average age of the Lions 11 projected starters on offense is 24.9 years old. Stafford is 28, making him the oldest of all those projected to start on the Lions offense in 2016.

“I feel old,” Stafford said. “It’s crazy how it happens. You feel like you’re the young guy for forever and then all of a sudden …”

Lions’ projected starting offense

QB Matthew Stafford, 28

RB Ameer Abdullah, 22

TE Eric Ebron, 23

WR Golden Tate, 27; Marvin Jones, 26; Jeremy Kerley, 27

OT Taylor Decker, 21; Riley Reiff, 27

OG Larry Warford, 24; Laken Tomlinson, 24

C Travis Swanson, 25

There are veterans in backup positions who could see the field, including new offensive lineman addition Geoff Schwartz (29). However, the Lions projected starting offensive linemen are all 27 or younger.

If TJ Jones (23) wins the 3rd receiver job over Jeremy Kerley (27) or rookie Graham Glasgow (23) starts at center over Travis Swanson (25) the average age of the starters will be even lower. The Lions are a young team with talent in all areas on offense.

“It’s the NFL,” Stafford said. “They’re always trying to bring in competition, bring in young guys, see if they can pave their way in this league and we’re no different. We got a bunch of competition at a lot of positions and it’s going to make us better.”