The roster churn for the Buffalo Bills in 2020 hasn’t been as drastic as in past seasons. General manager Brandon Beane has stacked this team with a core of essential players already, so toiling on the edges comprised most of what he did this offseason. Every Bills player, outside of Jerry Hughes, was acquired under the current regime. Now that the Bills’ GM has his fingerprints firmly on the team, let’s explore the roster to see which colleges and conferences Beane and the rest of the team’s front office appear to prefer.
Last year, it was evident that both head coach Sean McDermott and Beane liked to acquire players hailing from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). However, that has changed greatly as now the dominant conference is the Southeastern Conference (SEC). When looking at the 88 signed players on the Bills’ roster, 19 of them (22%) are from the SEC. The most popular schools in that conference? Alabama, LSU and Missouri are all tied with three players each. Missouri received a boost this year, thanks to the additions of free agents Evan Boehm and E.J. Gaines.
The second-most popular conference is the Big Ten with 11 players (13%) on the roster. Iowa leads the pack there with four players, which makes it the most popular college overall. The PAC-12 follows closely behind, with ten players (12%). The other two Power Five conferences include the ACC with nine players and the Big-12 with six players.
While 55 of the 88 players hail from the Power Five conferences, the rest—38%—are from smaller schools outside of the Power Five, a surprisingly high percentage. The American Athletic Conference (AAC) is the most popular smaller conference, with seven players represented on the Bills’ roster—its most prominent alumni being defensive tackle Ed Oliver. Included in the small-school total are five players from the FCS ranks as well as two from Division II colleges (Darryl Johnson, John Brown). The front office has not been shy about accumulating small-school prospects.