Homegrown talent numbers reflect draft weekend importance for Packers

Perhaps the biggest surprise in Kevin Seifert's piece that detailed the number of players who remain with the team that drafted them was that the Green Bay Packers weren't at the top of the list.

They were second, with 32, to the Cincinnati Bengals, who had 37.

However, the research from ESPN Stats & Information did not account for undrafted free agents who also remain with their original teams. The Packers have 12 of those on their offseason roster, including one highly paid starter.

That means 44 of the 64 players currently on their roster are homegrown players, whether they were draft picks or college free agents.

That's typically the case with the draft-and-develop Packers, who at this time last year led the NFL in most originally drafted players still on their roster.

In 2013, when the Packers made their final roster cuts, 51 of their 53 players had never played a regular-season snap for another team.

It proves not only the importance of the draft but also the undrafted free-agent signing period, where the Packers found cornerback Sam Shields in 2010. For a signing bonus of $5,000 on his rookie contract, the Packers brought in Shields. Five years later, he has 49 career starts, 15 interceptions and a four-year, $39 million contract (signed last offseason).

In the last five years, the Packers have kept 15 undrafted free agents after final cuts in training camp and have several others who have ended up on the roster after time on the practice squad.