If you’re like me you’re looking for every MACH 10-advantage you can get, and you’re probably relying a lot (like I do) on pre-draft visits sponsored by the team on behalf of the young draft-eligible job applicants.
Tommy Lawlor has always been obsessive about recording these visits at his Iggles Blitz column. His tally so far in 2019 reads likes this:
Top 30 Visits
S Darnell Savage – Maryland
S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Florida
S Juan Thornhill – Virginia
CB Amani Oruwariye – Penn State
CB Isaiah Johnson – Houston
DE L.J. Collier – TCU
DE Oshane Ximines- Old Dominion
DT Ed OIiver – Houston
OT Tytus Howard – Alabama State
OG Chris Lindstrom – Boston College
OL Cody Ford – Oklahoma
OL Hjalte Froholdt – Arkansas
RB Karan Higdon – Michigan
WR A.J. Brown – Ole Miss
Pro Days / Workouts
OT Tytus Howard – Alabama State – Jeff Stoutland at his Pro Day
OT Martez Ivey – Florida – Met with him
OT Isaiah Prince – Ohio State – Asst OL coach at his Pro Day
OG Michael Jordan – Ohio State – Asst OL coach at his Pro Day
OG Nate Davis – Charlotte – Asst OL coach at his Pro Day
OG Chris Lindstrom – Boston College – Jeff Stoutland at his Pro Day
OG Demetrius Knox – Ohio State – Met with him at his Pro Day
TE Kahale Warring – San Diego State – TE coach at his Pro Day
TE Trevon Wesco – West Virginia – Met with him at his Pro Day
WR Corey Contini – Ohio Dominican – Eagles scout talked to him at his Pro Day
RB Josh Jacobs – Alabama – Duce Staley worked him out at his Pro Day
RB Damien Harris – Alabama – Duce Staley worked him out at his Pro Day
RB Trayveon Williams – Texas A&M – Coach at his Pro Day
RB Travis Homer – Miami – Duce Staley worked him out at his Pro Day
RB Darrell Henderson – Memphis – Duce Staley worked him out at his Pro Day
RB Tony Pollard – Memphis – Duce Staley worked him out at his Pro Day
RB Darwin Thompson – Utah State – Private workout
RB David Montgomery – Iowa State – Met with him at his Pro Day
RB Devin Singletary – Florida Atlantic – Duce Staley met with him at his Pro Day
QB Tyree Jackson – Buffalo – Assistant coach at his Pro Day
DE Jaylon Ferguson- La Tech – DL coach at his Pro Day
DE Clelin Ferrell – Clemson – DL coach at his Pro Day
DE Austin Bryant – Clemson – DL coach at his Pro Day
DE Ahmad Gooden – Samford – Showing some interest
DE Porter Gustin – USC – Scout worked him out at his Pro Day
DE Titus Davis – UCF – DL coach at his Pro Day
DE Montez Sweat – Miss State – Met with him at his Pro Day
DE Maxx Crosby – Eastern Michigan – Scout worked him out at his Pro Day
DT Trysten Hill – UCF – DL coach worked him out at his Pro Day
DT Dexter Lawrence – Clemson – DL coach at his Pro Day
DT Christian Wilkins – Clemson – DL coach at his Pro Day
DT Albert Huggins – Clemson – DL coach at his Pro Day
DT Jeffery Simmons – Miss State – Dined with him before Pro Day (injured, couldn’t work out)
LB Emeke Egbule – Houston – Private workout
CB JoeJuan Williams – Vanderbilt – Cory Undlin at his Pro Day
CB Rashard Causey – UCF – Scout met with him at his Pro Day
That’s good intel. But does it really tell us anything of substance?
My experience as a 12-year loser at the MACH 10 Draft Challenge teaches me to take the pre-draft and pro-day visits with a grain of Brizer’s favorite sea salt.
I should have listened to NFL.com’s Conor Orr four years ago when he addressed this subject.
Orr, with the help of a few NFL insiders who spoke with Around The NFL on the condition of anonymity, broke down eight things you should know about these visits. In the grand scheme of things, according to Orr, pre-draft chats are sort of worthless.
“There’s a good chance the player sitting in your favorite team’s facility isn’t really there for a job interview. Here are some of the reasons why teams invite players to visit:
1. Injury history and criminal history are almost always going to warrant a visit, especially if the player has a high draftable grade on the team’s board. While many teams stray from trouble high up in the first round, they wouldn’t mind if a star player slips because of his misdeeds or serious injuries. A pre-draft visit is a great way to do some background work or to update their medical information just in case a player begins to slip.
2. Pre-draft visits can be used for information four years down the road (when that player hits free agency). If a team is picking toward the bottom of the first-round but covets a certain player who is expected to go well before their pick, they’ll invite him in for a chat anyway. Perhaps there was a missed opportunity at the combine.
3. Teams often meet with players who have a reputation for a “unique” personality.
“For some coaches, that actually means spending time with the guy to figure out if they can even tolerate having that player in their building,” one source said. This is also the kind of visit where a psychological test could be administered.
4. Another type of visit: When a team has a high draftable grade on a player who is not necessarily at a position of need, and isn’t necessarily someone they would have gone out of their way to visit at the combine. Remember, combine visits are hectic and timed stringently. Maybe something has happened to the roster (free agency, suspension, injury) since their last opportunity to talk.
5. If your team hasn’t spoken with one of your favorite collegiate players, perhaps they’ve Skyped. According to a different source, a Skype session counts as a phone call and not against one of the top 30 visits. Therefore, a coach could screen a quarterback or any other position guy and do all the necessary board work over his computer screen.
6. Smokescreens remain prevalent. A coach or general manager simply wants another team behind him to think he’s drafting a certain player. Simple as that.
7. One underrated reason for a visit: A team wants to glean information about another player they’re taking lower in the draft from the same school. Using an old 2015 reference, maybe Marcus Mariota has something to offer about Chip Kelly’s system in general, or he knows something about one of his wide receivers that could be useful later on in the draft for a mid-level prospect.
8. Many visits focus on fact checking: asking about criminal background, personality or injury history information with another player they’ve had in for a visit.
So just because the Eagles had a much-publicized pro-day chat with Vince Papale Jr. doesn’t mean squat, I guess? Dang it. He was going to be my MACH 10 secret weapon in the 7th round.