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Do Official NFL Pre-Draft Visits Mean Anything?

Is there a relationship between teams bringing in a player for a visit and the team selecting them in the NFL draft?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the draft right around the corner, you will start to hear reports about prospective players coming to New England on "Official Pre-Draft Visits". Teams are allowed to bring in 30 players for private meetings before the draft, which makes it different from the usual pre-draft interaction. This is not a coach attending a Pro Day, or interviewing the player at the combine; it's the team selecting an individual player for one-on-one time.

It also doesn't really mean much when it comes to the day of the draft.

Bleacher Report's Mike Tanier, then of Sports On Earth, reviewed the 2013 draft visitation process and noted that of the 495 recorded Pre-Draft Visits, only 33 players went to a team that brought them in. While the information isn't based on a perfectly comprehensive set of data, the results are clear enough: only a small number of players brought in for a visit will actually go to that team.

Tanier found 6.7% of players in the 2013 draft went to a team with a visit. Using the same methodology, we see that of reported 501 official 2014 visits, teams selected 38 players with invitations, or a rate of 7.6%.

Statistically speaking, the average team would be expected to draft two of their 30 visits.

In 2014, the Falcons and Steelers drafted four players they had in for a visit, while the Texans selected three players from visits. 11 first round picks had recorded Pre-Draft visits, while every other round had roughly five players with Pre-Draft connections.

The Patriots differ from the average team, though, and have drafted zero of the players they've had in for an Official Visit over the past two seasons. While the team did bring defensive tackle Cory "Porkchop" Grissom into camp in 2013, and did the same for running back Stephen Houston in 2014, New England didn't use a draft pick on either player.

Last year, the Patriots brought in five quarterbacks not named Jimmy Garoppolo. They only brought in two offensive linemen. New England is not a team that will reveal obvious interest in a player in the Pre-Draft process.

Instead, the Cleveland Browns brought in defensive tackle Dominique Easley, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back James White, and offensive guard Jon Halapio for a visit. So perhaps Patriots fans should look to Bill Belichick's old stomping grounds to see what players are on New England's radar. (editor's note: don't actually do this.)