With the NFL’s primary player acquisition phase of the offseason in the past, data analyst Tom Bliss has broken down each NFL team’s roster in an intriguing way. Bliss looked at each team’s total number of snaps in 2021 — combining offense, defense, and special teams — and broke down each roster based on where each player started his career, either as a draft pick or for his first undrafted free agent contract.
Bliss then presented each franchises’ top five teams in terms of the contribution to the total snaps from those teams’ draftees or signees. It’s an interesting exercise, particularly when spotting some trends around the league.
First, it should come as no surprise that every team got more production out of their own draftees and signees than any other team. However, there were a handful of teams that saw less than 50% of those snaps come from their own players. That group includes two struggling teams in the New York Jets and Giants, but also a pair of playoff squads in the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals.
The Green Bay Packers, unsurprisingly, are among the teams with the highest contribution from homegrown players. We’ll get to that in a second, but it is notable that they had two other franchises accounting for more than 5% of the team’s snaps last season.
Keep in mind that a player did not have to play a game for his “original” team, but rather it looks solely at which team gave the player his first NFL contract. Here’s the full graphic:
For each NFL team, here is the % of snaps by the player's team that drafted them or signed them as undrafted FA: pic.twitter.com/7in8adAT07— Tom Bliss (@DataWithBliss) June 8, 2022
First off, let’s look at the playing time the Packers got from their own draftees and initial signees. Green Bay saw 68.4% of its total snaps come from players who started their NFL careers with the Packers. That total ranked them fifth-highest overall in the NFL, behind the following other teams:
- Dallas Cowboys (73.9%)
- Baltimore Ravens (72.5%)
- New Orleans Saints (71.0%)
- Minnesota Vikings (69.0%)
- Green Bay Packers (68.4%)
This should come as no surprise, as the Packers have always been known to build from within. Indeed, the top five players in snaps on offense are all homegrown Packers, and eight of the top 10. The defense was a different story, however, with five of the top nine players in playing time having started their careers elsewhere.
With that said, let’s examine the contributions from players who did not start in Green Bay. The other team most responsible for the Packers’ 2021 roster is the Philadelphia Eagles, making up 6.8% of the team’s 2021 snaps. Those contributions were largely thanks to a pair of cornerbacks, Chandon Sullivan (an Eagles UDFA) and Rasul Douglas (3rd-round pick, 2017), who were each over 700 total snaps between defense and special teams. One other notable player, offensive tackle Dennis Kelly (5th round, 2012), was also a Philadelphia draftee who contributed just over 300 snaps last season in four starts.
Coming in behind Philadelphia are the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were responsible for initial signings of a few players at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Marcedes Lewis (around 500 snaps) was the Jags’ first-round pick in 2006, while fellow tight end Tyler Davis (350+) and wideout Allen Lazard (700+) both started their careers in Jacksonville before coming to Green Bay. Lazard never made it to the Jaguars’ 53, spending almost all of his rookie season on the practice squad before the Packers poached him to their own 53-man roster late in the 2018 season, but he still counts for the purposes of this exercise.
The Chicago Bears’ castoffs come in third, with safety Adrian Amos (4th-round pick, 2015) accounting for almost all of those snaps. In his third season with the Packers, Amos missed only a handful of defensive snaps, leading the unit with 1,048. Coming up just a small chunk behind Amos was De’Vondre Campbell, who played 988 defensive snaps and is responsible for the Atlanta Falcons (4th round, 2016) coming in at the fourth spot.
As you can see above, one player who leaves in free agency and ends up as a full-time starter can sometimes end up putting a team on another franchise’s top five in this exercise. That is the case in a few of the instances where the Packers show up as one of the bigger snap contributors to other teams in 2021.
The biggest snap ratio for players who were originally Packers but now play for another franchise comes for the Los Angeles Chargers at 5.2%. Those snaps are almost entirely the work of center Corey Linsley, who signed with the Chargers last offseason. Bryan Bulaga is present on the Chargers’ roster as well, but he suffered a season-ending injury in week one. The one other notable former Packer on that roster is linebacker Kyler Fackrell, who had over 450 combined snaps on defense and special teams.
Green Bay does show up on three other teams’ top fives: the New Orleans Saints, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Cleveland Browns. Two of the teams in this group each have a single individual contributor to the Packers’ appearances, with cornerback Casey Hayward playing in Vegas and center JC Tretter starting for the Browns. Each of those two players logged over 1,000 snaps for their respective teams last season, enough to get the Packers on their lists all on their own.
The other team, however, is much more of a group effort. For the Saints, a host of former Packers pitched in, including QB/TE/whatever his position is today Taysom Hill (450+ snaps). However, running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery logged almost 500 combined snaps. while defensive linemen Christian Ringo (300+) and Montravius Adams (100+) both pitched in on defense.