The Buffalo Bills’ group of 2022 NFL draft pics and free-agent signings have been inked and the team is prepping for the upcoming regular season. The Bills kicked off 2022 training camp with 89 total players rostered and the ability to add one more piece if they so choose. Bills general manager Brandon Beane made some tough decisions to let free agents walk this past offseason. Most notably, the defensive line and receiver positions look a lot different heading into a pivotal campaign. The development caused an influx of new talent in Buffalo highlighted by the free-agent signing of star pass rusher Von Miller. The offseason in the rear view allows us to analyze how Beane has placed his fingerprints all over the team’s assembly. One of the clear trends in roster construction pertains to what conferences and teams the front office prefers to others. One conference stands clearly above the rest.
The Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) was represented head and shoulders above the rest of the conferences for the 2021 Buffalo Bills with 15 representatives (17% of the roster). That trend remains the same in 2022 with an even bigger chunk being allocated to the ACC. In 2022, 24% of the roster (21 players) reign from one of the more unheralded Power Five FBS conferences. The return of Shaq Lawson (Clemson) and addition of Jamison Crowder (Duke) are among those who help those numbers along with draft selections Baylon Spector (Clemson) and Luke Tenuta (Virginia Tech). A whopping 11 of the 14 teams in the ACC are accounted for on the Bills, with the most representation hailing from Virginia Tech (four players). The additions of Hokie alumni Raheem Blackshear, Tim Settle, and Tenuta provided a big-time boost to the numbers.
The second-most popular conference on the team is the Southeastern Conference (SEC), which holds steady from 2021 with 11 stakeholders on the Bills (12%). Texas A&M leads the pack for the power conference headlined by new addition Von Miller as well as undrafted free-agent tight end Jalen Wydermyer and veteran Tyrel Dodson. The PAC-12 follows with nine players (10%) and the American Athletic Conference (AAC) eight (9%). The other two Power Five conferences include the Big Ten with seven players and the Big 12 with just five.
The 2022 Bills have added more Power Five pedigree with 53 of the 89 players (60%) coming from major conferences. That is a 9% increase from 2021. Nine players on the team are alumni of non-FBS programs, including key players Taron Johnson (Weber State), Spencer Brown (Northern Iowa), and Siran Neal (Jacksonville State). There are 17 conferences and two independent schools (BYU and Notre Dame) that are currently taking stock in the newest form of the Buffalo Bills ranging anywhere from Division III to national championship contenders in Alabama and Georgia.
Going forward, this breakdown is subject to change with the growing topic of conference realignment becoming a factor in future years. The shift has already affected the conference membership of large programs such as Oklahoma, Texas, USC, and UCLA.