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Bills have second least 'homegrown' roster in NFL

Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have had to do a lot of heavy lifting in building the Buffalo Bills’ roster.

The Bills have 17 of their own draft choices on the roster, tied with the New York Jets for fewest in the NFL on opening day.

The Bills also have the second least “homegrown” roster in the NFL, right behind the Jets, with just 22 players in a Buffalo uniform who were drafted or originally signed by the team as undrafted free agents, according to a News review of opening-day rosters. The Jets have 21 homegrown players.

The reason for the Bills’ ranking, of course, is the lack of drafting success of the previous Buffalo regimes and the housecleaning done by Beane and McDermott.

The Bills have just one player on the roster — defensive end Shaq Lawson — drafted by former general manager Doug Whaley. Lawson is one of just four players left on the roster that predate McDermott and Beane. The others are Jerry Hughes, Lorenzo Alexander and Reid Ferguson.

That’s also a big reason the Bills had so much money to spend — about $80 million — entering free agency in March.

The Bills have 10 starters who were signed in free agency and 10 starters who were drafted (all in the past three years). The other, Hughes, was acquired in a trade in 2013.

Fewest Draftees on Roster
Team Draftees
Bills 17
Jets 17
Cardinals 19
Browns 19
Giants 19
Raiders 19

The Bills will be among the NFL leaders in cap space again for the 2020 season. They simply have not had enough players they deemed worthy of signing to a second contract.

That eventually is going to change, however. There are four starters from the 2016 draft class — Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano, Dion Dawkins and Zay Jones — and the Bills surely will work to keep some or all of them. White's contract runs out after the 2021 season; the other three after 2020.

The average number of own-drafted players on NFL teams’ rosters this year is 25.

The teams with the most “homegrown” rosters are: Baltimore (with 43 of 53), Cincinnati (41), Minnesota (41), Atlanta (39) and Seattle (36).

There are 37 NFL players originally drafted by the Bills who were on 53-man NFL rosters on opening day. That’s almost the average of 38.6.

Most Draftees on NFL Rosters
Team Draftees
Ravens 77
Patriots 70
Bengals 61
Cowboys 61
Packers 60
49ers 60

The two teams with the most drafted players still on NFL rosters are Baltimore (51) and New England (48). Those two also lead in players whom they originally signed still in the NFL, with Baltimore at 77 and New England at 70. That’s no surprise. The Ravens and Patriots have two of the most respected personnel departments in the NFL.

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