With the 2018 NFL Draft just over a week away, NFL teams are finalizing their pre-draft visits by the end of the week. Each team is allotted 30 visits, with some exceptions, and there are many fans who simply brush off this news.
With websites, like this one, who compile things like meetings at the NFL Scouting Combine, All-Star games and those Pre-Draft visits, some believe they don’t carry much meaning. Especially when you have a player like JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Steelers’ second round draft pick in 2017, who didn’t meet with the Steelers leading up to the draft process.
If a team is going to select a player they had no previous meeting with, do they even matter?
They do, and for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it is to see an individual work out one-on-one with the coaching staff. Often it is to do a health check on a potential injury. Other times it is to just get to know the prospect a little better.
Nat Berhe, the recent free agent addition of the Pittsburgh Steelers, spoke with the Steelers official website recently, and he talked about a lot of things. How to pronounce his name correctly, what his first impression of the Steelers was, why he thinks he coming to the Steel City is a good fit, but more importantly, to me, was how he talked about his meeting with Mike Tomlin, and then defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, at the NFL Scouting Combine before he was drafted.
Check out the interview below:
Berhe might have wanted the Steelers to draft him, but what he didn’t know at the time was although the Steelers were going to go in another direction in the draft doesn’t mean the meeting was meaningless.
His recollection of his conversation with Tomlin shows the coach made an indelible impression on him as a college prospect, and it helped play a role in his decision where to go in free agency.
While the Steelers clearly won’t be picking every player they meet with leading up to the draft, it doesn’t mean these meetings, although some view them as meaningless, won’t play a role down the road.
To keep tabs on all of the Steelers’ Combine and Official Pre-Draft Visits, check out the BTSC Pre-Draft Visit Tracker.