- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
- 0 Shares
The importance of pre-draft visits that teams are allowed to host with out of area prospects is often questioned.
But they can't be dismissed, and not just because four of the Pittsburgh Steelers' first five picks last year also visited them in advance of the draft.
General manager Kevin Colbert said the Steelers rarely draft a prospect that he or coach Mike Tomlin hasn't interviewed, which shows the value they place on getting to know a player personally.
"We try to touch base with as many as we can," Colbert said.
There are plenty of chances for teams to do so aside from hosting players for pre-draft visits -- from the Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine to pro day workouts and other campus visits.
That component of the evaluation process has helped the Steelers to assemble a draft board that will have more than 200 players on it.
And Colbert said the Steelers are usually able to make all of their picks from among the top 120 players on their board.
It will be interesting to see how many of the players the Steelers draft -- they have eight overall picks -- also visited them in Pittsburgh.
Last year inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (first-round pick), defensive end Stephon Tuitt (second round), wide receiver Martavis Bryant (fourth round) and cornerback Shaquille Richardson (fifth round) all paid pre-draft visits to the Steelers.
Here, again, is the list out of area prospects who visited the Steelers:
DE/OLB Eli Harold, Virginia
DE/OLB Nate Orchard, Utah
CB Senquez Golson, Mississippi
TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn
CB Marcus Peters, Washington
CB Alex Carter, Stanford
DE/OLB Max Valles, Virginia
WR Breshad Perriman, UCF
QB Tyler Murphy, Boston College
TE Wes Saxton, South Alabama
WR Sammie Coates, Auburn
TE Cameron Clear, Texas A&M
G Quinton Spain, West Virginia
TE Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State
TE Kennard Backman, UAB
DT Xavier Cooper, Washington State
DE/OLB Randy Gregory, Nebraska
WR Devin Gardner, Michigan
WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
CB Steven Nelson, Oregon State
CB Darryl Roberts, Marshall
CB Bryce Callahan, Rice
CB Eric Rowe, Utah
CB Doran Grant, Ohio State
DE/OLB Kyle Emanuel, North Dakota State
S Landon Collins, Alabama
DE Preston Smith, Mississippi State:
DE/OLB: Davis Tull, Tennessee-Chattanooga
CB Dexter McDonald, Kansas
Four of the Pittsburgh Steelers' first five picks last year visited the team in advance of the draft.