The Buffalo Bills roster has turned over quite a bit since new general manager Brandon Beane first took over in May 2017. Beane has traded or let go of dozens of players drafted by former GM Doug Whaley. With that in mind, and in an effort to gauge Beane’s tendencies for player acquisition, let’s explore the Bills roster to see which colleges and conferences Beane and the rest of the Bills front office appear to prefer.
In a previous article, it was pointed out that Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane like to acquire players hailing from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). When looking at the 89 signed players on the Bills roster, 19 of them (21%) are from the ACC. The most popular schools in that conference? Virginia Tech with four players, Clemson with three and Pittsburgh with three, respectively.
The second-most popular conference is, somewhat understandably, the Southeastern Conference with 14 players (16%) on the roster hailing from the SEC. LSU leads the pack there with four, although this offseason has seen the team add three former Alabama players, no doubt due to some influence from Brian Daboll. The PAC-12 with ten players, the Big Ten with seven, and the Big 12 with six players rounds out the rest of the Power Five conferences.
While 56 of the 89 players hail from the Power Five conferences, the rest — 37 percent — are from smaller schools outside of the Power Five, a surprisingly high percentage. The AAC is the most popular small conference, with five players represented on the Bills roster, along with the Mountain West, whose most obvious alumni is quarterback Josh Allen. Interestingly, five players (Khari Lee, L.J. McCray, Deon Lacey, Chris Ivory, Andre Holmes) are from Division II colleges. Clearly, the Bills brain trust hasn’t been afraid to acquire players from smaller schools.