One often under-reported part of the pre-draft news cycle is the top 30 visits. These visits will allow teams to work with players and explore if they would be a good fit. Before the NFL draft, each club has a limit of 30 invites to fly in out-of-town prospects for private interviews. Local college players don’t count against this number. Kenny Pickett, who played at the University of Pittsburgh, did not count against the 30 for the Steelers.
These visits are essential for dynasty fantasy football managers. It gives a glimpse of what positions each team hopes to acquire in the draft. This information is invaluable when looking ahead to older players who may be out of a job. We can get ahead of the news cycle and trade away players who may lose value. Today we will take a look at the AFC North.
I am using this article from CBS Sports to reference the visits. Not every team has used all 30, so it would be good to check back from time to time for an up-to-date list.
- RB James Cook (Georgia)
- RB Zamir White (Georgia)
- OL Jason Poe (Mercer)
- OL Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa)
- CB Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson)
- CB Cam Taylor Britt (Nebraska)
- CB Derion Kendrick (Georgia)
Could there be trouble brewing in the Baltimore backfield? Bringing in two running backs for top thirty visits isn’t exactly the vote of confidence you would like to see. Perhaps J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards are rehabbing slower than Baltimore would like. Maybe they would prefer more running backs in the room. Either way, a running back selection in round four or earlier would severely downgrade the dynasty stock of JK Dobbins and leave managers questioning if Gus Edwards is even worth rostering. Investments in the offensive line and cornerback room do make sense for Baltimore. Both of these positions could use an influx of youth and talent.
- RB James Cook (Georgia)
- RB Rachaad White (Arizona State)
- WR Christian Watson (North Dakota State)
- WR Treylon Burks (Arkansas)
- TE Greg Dulcich (UCLA)
- CB Chase Lucas (Arizona State)
Another AFC North team may be signaling changes to its running back room. In the case of the Cleveland Browns, it may be an investment a year early. Kareem Hunt will be a free agent after the 2022 season, and Nick Chubb is signed through 2024. Cleveland is a team that relies heavily on its running game, and a pass-catching replacement for Hunt may be in the cards. Hunt will be 27 by the time he hits free agency. Now may be the time to move him.
The Cleveland Browns also had interviews with two wide receivers. Who knows if Treylon Burks or Christian Watson will be there at 44, Cleveland’s first pick. But regardless, the Browns are still looking to add at that position. Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones are the projected starters, with some depth pieces like Anthony Schwartz and Jakeem Grant.
A final exciting part of this list is TE Greg Dulcich from UCLA. The Browns recently moved on from Austin Hooper while also extending David Njoku. Harrison Bryant was to serve as the second TE on a team that runs two TE sets more than the league average. This move wouldn’t be so worrying for Bryant if Dlucich were a pure blocker, but the UCLA prospect projects as a move TE at the next level. This is similar to Bryant’s profile.
- QB Carson Strong (Nevada)
- QB Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati)
- QB Malik Willis (Liberty)
- QB Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
- QB Sam Howell (North Carolina)
- DL Eric Johnson (Missouri State)
- LB James Skalski (Clemson)
- LB Mark Robinson (Ole Miss)
- LB Quay Walker (Georgia)
- CB Marcus Jones (Houston)
- S Joey Blount (Virginia)
- S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
- S Nolan Turner (Clemson)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in full-on QB search mode. They signed free agent and former first-round pick Mitch Trubisky this offseason. However, their interest in Malik Willis is one of the worst-kept secrets of the pre-draft process. Kenny Pickett is considered a local visit for Pittsburgh, so he doesn’t appear on this list. The Steelers have met with the top six QBs in this draft class. Pittsburgh taking a new QB seems destined to happen on draft weekend. As far as dynasty fantasy football goes, we could see a split on starting quarterback this year. Trubisky may start the season as the starter before turning the team over to a rookie post-bye week. Something to keep an eye on in Superflex leagues.
- WR Jalen Nailor (Michigan State)
- WR Tyquan Thornton (Baylor)
- TE Chigoziem Okonkwo (Maryland)
- LB Brian Asamoah (Oklahoma)
- OL Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)
- DL Eric Johnson (Missouri State)
- DL Esezi Otomewo (Minnesota)
The last team in the AFC North is the reigning AFC Champions, the Cincinnati Bengals. This Bengals roster is pretty complete considering they made it to the Super Bowl last season. They have also spent most of free agency plugging their most obvious hole; the offensive line. This leaves Cincinnati in a great position to let value fall to them in the draft. This list is a little light on prospects for the time being, but we can see that the Bengals are ready to grab any position where a player of value falls in the draft. I would not expect them to add any offensive weapons that will have any dynasty impact on the current roster. The exception is if they were to add a running back on day two as a possible Joe Mixon replacement down the road.
Gathering this information ahead of time will leave us fewer surprises on the draft weekend. Just because a player lands on this list doesn’t mean that team will draft them given a chance. Some of these visits may not work out, and that player may be removed from a team’s board. Other teams may have questions on their evaluation process that they need to clarify. This list should be one of many tools dynasty managers use to improve their squads this offseason.
This week, check back as we drop more top 30 lists and their potential impact. We are less than two weeks away from the NFL draft! Using this information, you might be able to get out of that aging vet before it is too late. You can find me over on Twitter at @DanT_NFL. Please give me a follow for the latest in dynasty fantasy football news and analysis. Beer recommendations and dog pictures are always welcome!
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