We've got a long way to go before rosters are trimmed and ready for Week one, but one early signal of a team's Super Bowl preparedness is depth. Look beyond the starters to guys like Doug Baldwin, Byron Maxwell and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith. Can the backups be trusted to maintain the quality of the starters they may have to replace?

Consider the pre-season depth of the Green Bay Packers in 2010. One-by-one, they lost starters to injured reserve: Nick Barnett, Brad Jones, Brady Poppinga, Brandon Chillar, Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant, Morgan Burnett, Mark Tauscher... 16 in all. Yet their backups came in and the team kept marching all the way to a Super Bowl win.

Every year, a few teams signal that kind of depth. It doesn't always work out the way it did for Green Bay. San Francisco, for example, had extraordinary depth the past couple of years. No rings. That depth is starting to shrivel up though. As a matter of fact, it looks like it skipped town for the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks.

On the flip side, LACK of depth is an indication of future troubles. I saw it coming from a mile away with the Atlanta Falcons last year. Their depth at just about every position -- offensive line, linebacker, corner, wide receiver, safety -- was wretched. And when starters inevitably began dropping, the backups performed poorly. That's how a #1 seed in the NFC ends up drafting in the top 6 the next year. I see happening in Carolina this year. While they have a few defensive stars, the depth is terrible and getting worse.

A few years ago, I developed an interesting project that helped to familiarize myself with team depth. Hopefully, you'll try it out too...

You’re the general manager of the NFL's newest expansion team: the Los Angeles Lohans (don't bother drug testing us -- we're all loaded). And you're going to fill your starting roster with the backups of other teams. Every backup is available to you EXCEPT ROOKIES. If a player is regularly used (like Joique Bell), he's not considered a backup.

After scouring this year's squads (I use the depth charts over at Ourlads.com, which are superb), here's what I've come up with for the offense:

QB - Ryan Mallett

There are great arguments for guys with starting experience like Mark Sanchez in Philly or Matt Moore in Miami, but I'd prefer to go with the highly-touted arm of Mallett. He's been in the Patriots system for a few years now, he's obviously well-rested, and perhaps he's grown up a bit since his college days. We'd have to work out a new contract first. Kirk Cousins and Brett Osweiler were also considered here.

RB - Christine Michael & Donald Brown

This will be my 1-2 punch. I like the every-down possibilities of Donald Brown (an underrated runner if you asked me), paired with the home-run hitting potential of Michael. But there are SO many other ways I could have gone: Roy Helu in Washingotn, Mike James in Tampa, Bryce Brown, now in Buffalo.

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WR - Andre Roberts, Harry Douglas & Jermaine Kearse

I suspect Marvin Jones will be a starter in Cincy this year, so I'll take him out of consideration. I like Ryan Broyles in Detroit but he's an injury nightmare. Quinton Patton in San Fran and Marquess Wilson in Chicago seem to have promise. But I'm going with guys who've seen game action: Andre Roberts, who SEEMED like a starter in Washington before they brought in DeSean Jackson; Jermaine Kearse, who can bring a little Super Bowl experience to my new squad; and Harry Douglas, who had some big games in relief of Julio Jones last year.

TE - Zach Ertz & Ladarius Green

This was easy. They may not be backups by the time we hit September.

OT - Marcus Cannon & Dennis Kelly

This WASN'T easy. The depth at offensive tackle is especially bad around the league, which is why elite left tackles are making serious cash. The Patriots have the greatest offensive line depth around - and they have for a while. So Marcus Cannon works for me. The best starting line is in Philadelphia, so I'll steal their backup, Dennis Kelly.

G - Allen Barbre & Vlad Ducasse

Again, not easy. I've seen good things out of Vlad Ducasse during his time with the Jets, but only when they moved him to guard. Allen Barbre backs up in Philly, and he started for Green Bay for a while, so I can use him. But man, am I drafting O-line in 2015!

C - Will Montgomery

Now backing up in Denver, Montgomery actually graded out pretty well in Washington (despite being unusually tall for the position).

Now its time to give the defense a try...

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