The Pittsburgh Steelers have started bringing in draft prospects for pre draft visits as Ohio State linebacker John Simon, Florida State linebacker Vince Williams, and Texas A&M running back Christine Michael all were in Pittsburgh on Monday.
Teams are allowed to have up to 30 non-local players visit and as many local players who went to school or live in their metropolitan area.
So how important are these pre draft visits when determining whether or not they will be drafted? When you look back at the last three years, you will see that quite a few players that made visits were either drafted by the Steelers or signed as undrafted free agents.
Of the confirmed visitors from last year, the Steelers drafted tackle Mike Adams, tight end David Paulson, tackle Kelvin Beachum, and wide receiver Toney Clemons. They also signed linebacker Brandon Lindsey as an undrafted free agent. While I am not 100 percent positive, I think linebacker Adrian Robinson was mistakenly listed as Cincinnati tight end Adrien Robinson. If indeed that was the case, then the Steelers signed two undrafted free agents who visited.
In 2011, the Steelers selected five known pre draft visitors. Those players were, tackle Marcus Gilbert, cornerback Curtis Brown, cornerback Cortez Allen, guard Keith Williams and running back Baron Batch. They also signed tight end Weslye Saunders, linebacker Mario Harvey, nose tackle Anthony Gray, and defensive end Corbin Bryant, all of whom reportedly made visits to Pittsburgh prior to the draft.
In 2010, center Maurkice Pouncey, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and wide receiver Antonio Brown were known pre draft visitors that wound up being Steelers on draft day.
While I have tracked this visits very closely over the years, I am pretty sure that a few visitors fell through the cracks that might have gone unreported. Regardless, you can see the odds are good that a handful of players who visit over the course of the next few weeks will wind up being drafted or signed as an undrafted free agent. After all, why bring a player in if there really isn\'t any interest? I can understand a smokescreen or two is possible, but 30 visitors is not a lot.
Srteelers general manager Kevin Colbert has said numerous times over the years that some players that are brought in for pre draft visits are because they didn\'t get enough time with them during the combine. Often times a few of these players might be ones that weren\'t even at the combine.
As far as first round prospects go this year, it will be interesting to see if the Steelers decide to bring in a player like Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who reportedly didn\'t do too well during his interviews at the combine. In addition to that, Patterson is not regarded as one that has a high football IQ, so perhaps getting him on white board for an extended amount of time might be an option.
Obviously, just because a first round prospect doesn\'t make a pre draft visit, doesn\'t mean that the Steelers aren\'t intersted in him. The Steelers, like other teams, will schedule a player for a private workout in his own backyard and often times these workouts aren\'t even reported.
As always, we will keep you updated daily with our 2013 Steelers pre draft list, so make sure you bookmark the page.