When it comes to building an NFL team through the draft and with undrafted free agents, the Cincinnati Bengals are one of the league's best.
According to a study from Five Thirty-Eight Sports, The Bengals Rank fourth in the NFL in terms of how much of their roster is comprised of homegrown talent.
|RANK||TEAM||2014 RECORD||% HOMEGROWN|
|1||Green Bay Packers||12-4||92.8%|
|8||St. Louis Rams||6-10||72.0|
|10||New England Patriots||12-4||70.9|
|11||San Francisco 49ers||8-8||69.9|
|14||San Diego Chargers||9-7||67.3|
|15||New Orleans Saints||7-9||63.7|
|20||New York Jets||4-12||59.9|
|24||Kansas City Chiefs||9-7||56.7|
|25||New York Giants||6-10||56.5|
|32||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2-14||46.1|
Each of the top five teams in terms of homegrown talent all finished the 2014 season with a winning schedule. Both Super Bowl contestants from last year were in the top 10, and seven of last year's 12 playoff contestants ranked in the top 12.
The two worst teams in football (Titans and Bucs) ranked 31st and 32nd respectively, showing that not building a team mainly of homegrown players can be crippling. In fact, the bottom eight teams in this ranking combined to go 36-92 last year. The only winning team in the mix at the bottom of the list were the Colts.
As for the Bengals, 16 of their 17 draft picks from the past three years all still part of their franchise in some capacity. All 10 players on the practice squad were with the team in training camp. Adding to that, nine of the Bengals practice squad players were signed as college free agents either this year or in 2014. Keith Wenning is the only one who didn't originate with the Bengals after being a sixth-round pick of the Ravens in 2014.
Needless to say, if you build a roster with players who you brought up to the NFL and developed, the chances of success are significantly higher at the NFL level. If instead you opt to build through free agency and by adding on players who other teams developed, you could be in for a down season.