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Top 30 Visits – AFC East and AFC North

As we inch closer to the NFL draft, its time to look back to see which teams had the most connection to a prospect. Coach Steve part 1 series breaks down what this could mean for some players.

Once the NFL combine is done and until the NFL draft, teams are allowed to have a draftee visit with the team to understand them better. Players who get visits are good since teams want to get to know the players better. Also, just because a player doesn’t get invited for a visit doesn’t mean they don’t think highly of them as they already know them well enough. I will break down every team’s visit and conversation with players to give more insight into whether a particular veteran or rookie value could go up or down. I got my information from the 2023 NFL Draft Visit Tracker.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Interview @ Combine: Zach Charbonnet RB, Parker Washington WR, Dalton Kincaid TE, Sam LaPorta TE, Tucker Kraft TE 
  • Private meeting: Aidan O’Connell QB
  • Met @ Pro Day: Dakota Allen TE, Camerun Peoples RB
  • Top 30 Visit: Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB, Tre Tucker WR, Josh Vann WR,  Tyler Scott WR. Xazavian Valladay RB, Lew Nichols RB, Michael Mayer TE

The Bengals’ most significant need on offense is the tight end position. They did sign Irv Smith and Drew Sample, but I don’t believe they are done adding to that room. The Bengals met with five different tight ends this offseason, indicating they are trying to bring in talent to that position. I won’t be surprised if the Bengals pull the trigger on one of these tight ends in the first round. I would be out there in my dynasty leagues trying to trade away Smith. It’s unlikely his career turns around in one year with the Bengals.

Based on the receivers they brought in, I expect the Bengals to be looking for the future Tyler Boyd replacement after the 2023 season. Interestingly enough, the Bengals only brought in a few big-name running backs of this deep class. They could see draft one, but Trayveon Williams should be picked up, especially with Joe Mixon being a potential cut.

Buffalo Bills

  • Interview @ Combine: Tucker Kraft TE 
  • Private meeting: Tyjae Spears RB, Payne Durham TE, Sam LaPorta TE
  • Met @ Pro Day: Bijan Robinson RB, Roschon Johnson RB, Jared Wayne WR, Justin Marshall WR, Tre Tucker WR
  • Top 30 Visit: Jordan Addison WR, Tank Dell WR, Luke Schoonmaker TE, Kendre Miller RB, Zach Charbonnet RB, Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, Jalin Hyatt WR, Justin Shorter WR, Zay Flowers WR, Luke Musgrave TE, Darnell Washington TE

The Bill certainly made notice in meeting with many offensive prospects before the NFL draft. Surprisingly enough, it’s interesting the Bills met with a good amount of tight ends during this offseason. That’s a luxury for a good offense to add pieces they don’t need. I wouldn’t say this knocks down Dawson Knox since he is tied to the team until at least 2025. Getting a young tight end to develop in a good class seems like something the Bills may want to do.

The Bills brought in many of the smaller receivers who are great in the slot. One of the top four receivers will not make it to Bill’s pick unless they trade up for one of them. This could speak loudly to Gabriel Davis’s value, as the Bills still want to add top-tier talent to the receiver. I like Davis still to break out, but many folks may tell you to sell off now. Don’t be surprised to see the Bills take a running back in round two. Four out of the five running backs they talked to are bigger backs who can pound the ball. Damien Harris was a high sell for me when he signed with Buffalo and should still be looked at that way.

Miami Dolphins

  • Interview @ Combine: Israel Abanikanda RB, Zach Evans RB
  • Private meeting: Jaleel Mclaughlin RB, Elijah Harper WR, Shemar Thornton WR, Tucker Kraft TE, Darnell Washington TE, Luke Musgrave TE 
  • Met @ Pro Day: Sam LaPorta TE, Evan Hull RB,  Kendre Miller RB, Daniel Baker TE, Brenton Strange TE, Will Mallory TE, Cameron Latu TE
  • Top 30 Visit: Deneric Prince RB

The Dolphins, since they don’t have a ton of picks, are limited to what they can in the draft. Miami met with at least eight tight ends. It makes sense since they are a team that desperately needs a well-rounded tight end. With their round-two pick, the tight end will be the pick they take if one of them they like falls into their selection. I believe Miami not overly meeting with some of the top-tier running back gives Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson owners some security that they will be the starters. Miami will elect to go in the later rounds or even bring in an undrafted running back to compete.

New England Patriots  

  • Interview @ Combine: Zach Charbonnet RB, Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, Zach Evans RB, Puka Nuacua WR, Anthony Richardson QB 
  • Private meeting:
  • Met @ Pro Day: Evan Hull RB, Kendre Miller RB, Josh Downs WR, Tyler Scott WR, Aidan Borguet RB, Tre Tucker WR, Quentin Johnston WR, Jake Bobo WR
  • Top 30 Visit: Malik Cunningham QB, WIll Levis QB, Tucker Kraft TE, Dalton Kincaid TE, Jonathan Mingo WR, Jordan Addison WR, TJ Luther WR, Zay Flowers WR, Michael Wilson WR, Ronnie Bell WR

The Patriots have work to do on the offense to give Mac Jones any chance to be successful. Will Levis having that top 30 visits is interesting, but unless he falls into their laps, I don’t see Mac Jones not being the starter. It bothers me that the Patriots had eyes on so many running backs again. Outside of Stevenson, I wouldn’t trust any of James Robinson or Pierre Strong, as I could see the Patriots taking a true Damien Harris replacement in the draft. I think the Patriots could take a day-one receiver during the first round; if that happens, someone will get hurt. A Johnston selection would destroy any value that DeVante Parker has left. If Addison or Flowers get picked, that could hurt the Juju Smith-Shuster signing. I’m all for selling off Juju before the NFL draft. 

New York Jets 

  • Interview @ Combine: Andre Iosvias WR, Tre Tucker WR
  • Private meeting: Aidan O’Connell QB, Elijah Harper WR, Trey Palmer WR 
  • Met @ Pro Day: Sam LaPorta TE, Evan Hull RB,  Kendre Miller RB, Daniel Baker TE, Brenton Strange TE, Will Mallory TE, Cameron Latu TE
  • Top 30 Visit: Keaton Mitchell RB, Zach Evans RB, DeWayne McBride RB, Luke Schoonmaker TE, Luke Musgrave TE, Xavier Gipson WR

I’m surprised the Jets met with so many tight ends during this draft process. They signed decent contracts to Tyler Conklin and CJ Uzomah last off-season and drafted Jeremy Ruckert the previous year. Both veterans have outs in their contracts next off-season. It could be the Jets have not liked the progress that Ruckert has made over the year. I don’t think the Jets will take a tight end early, so I wouldn’t worry that much. The Jets have met with a good amount of the lower-tier running back in the draft process. It concerns Michael Carter’s owners, who seem to have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff, and Zonovan Knight didn’t do enough to be trusted. Knight is the backup to Breece Hall right now, so the Jets could be looking to upgrade there.

Baltimore Ravens 

  • Interview @ Combine: Israel Abanikanda RB, Quineton Johnston WR, Rashee Rice WR, 
  • Private meeting: Elijah Harper WR, Malik Cunningham QB, EJ Jenkins WR
  • Met @ Pro Day: Sean Clifford QB, Jaden Haselwood WR
  • Top 30 Visit: Anthony Richardson QB, Dewayne McBride RB, Zay Flowers WR, Ronnie Brown RB, Jonathan Mingo WR, David Duren WR, Jordan Addison WR,  Jaxon Smith-Njigba

The Ravens need a receiver, even with Odell Beckham signing with the team last week. Or it could mean the Ravens don’t like taking a receiver in round one. The Ravens have done their homework on the top receivers. If a receiver as they do fall, then they may grab one. If they do, that could hurt the upside value of Rashad Bateman since Bateman has not been able to stay healthy in his career so far. The Ravens haven’t made much connection to running back. Don’t be surprised if they take one in the later rounds, as JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards are free agents in 2024. Abanikanda or McBride would be great middle-round additions for the Ravens.

Pittsburgh Steelers 

  • Interview @ Combine: Jalin Hyatt WR, Sam LaPorta TE, Jordan Addison WR, Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, Parker Washington WR 
  • Private meeting:
  • Met @ Pro Day: Luke Schoonmaker TE, 
  • Top 30 Visit: Clayton Tune QB, Jaren Hall QB, Jonathan Mingo WR, Charlie Jones WRs, Jayden Reed WR, Bryce Ford-Wheaton WR,  Cedric Tillman WR

The Steelers have made many connections to receivers in this draft, having talked to at least ten different ones. I wonder if the recent trade for Allen Robinson has shifted the Steeler’s mindset away from taking a receiver early. Suppose the Steelers go after a receiver in the middle rounds due to the talent level of their top 30 visited receivers; then that will hurt everyone. I’m still looking to sell off high on George Pickens and Allen Robinson, especially with the Steelers looking at those bigger frame receivers. Note that the Steelers aren’t linked to any running backs. It could be great for Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren to buy low on them.

Cleveland Browns 

  • Interview @ Combine: Parker Washington WR,  Luke Schoonmaker TE, Cameron Latu TE, Tucker Kraft TE, Tyler Scott WR 
  • Private meeting:
  • Met @ Pro Day: Jalen Haselwood WR
  • Top 30 Visit: Clayton Tune QB, Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB, Jake Haener QB, Tank Dell WR, Jalin Hyatt WR

The Browns are searching for a young backup quarterback to back up DeShaun Watson. Having few offensive top-30 visits, they brought in three quarterbacks. I’m concerned for Donavan Peopels-Jones, a free agent next year, who is supposed to be the deep threat for the offense. Dell and Hyatt have speed on the outside to be a deep threat. Peoples-Jones value has already taken a hit with Elijah Moore coming over, so it could be another concerning thing for his value. While the Browns didn’t bring in any tight ends for a visit, they talked to a few at the combine. We know David Njoku is the starter, but he has been banged up over the years, and Harrison Bryant never seems to take advantage when given an opportunity. Brown could take a tight end in a depth class in the mid to late rounds.

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