For high school football players, star recruits are allowed five “official” visits to college campuses paid for by each prospective school. Not any more. Because of the pandemic, now it’s Zoom meetings and virtual tours of the campus, dorms, locker room, facilities plus the stadium itself.
The NFL is not much different. Teams might have a bit more technology under their belt and more bodies to make all this happen, but basically nobody is traveling these days to meet anyone.
Because the NFL Combine was canceled, there hasn’t been many avenues for NFL clubs to circulate among players and get to know them personally.
It used to be coaches, scouts, player personnel folks and General Managers would visit the college All-Star games such as the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game in order to see firsthand what a guy is like, his attitude, his demeanor, his field focus, and ask him questions about what his game day routine was about, what a typical meal is during the season, and if he adds salt to cantaloupe.
At the Senior Bowl, these meetings were usually done between practice sessions. One group, what used to be divided into North and South squads is now American and National, will practice in the morning while the other will hold their practice session in the afternoon. The player interviews are sandwiched in between and in the evening after team meetings and dinner.
Then there are the various Pro Days followed by the NFL Combine. Next, are the “official visits” where an NFL club can bring in a certain number of prospects and show them around a bit, share a meal, meet all of the coaches and GM and get to know them.
After all, teams have invested umpteen amount of miles for scouting trips, hundreds of thousands keystrokes of notes, thousands of hours of film study, various reports and talking with their respective college coaches.
While COVID restrictions have ultimately altered many methods the way clubs are doing business, there actually has been visits with prospective draft picks. Just, not in the normal sense.
Rookie players who are noted to having visits with the Browns have had virtual meetings instead. No actual sit-down meetings, or lengthy tours, or overnight stays, or steak dinners. Just a guy, a camera and someone from Cleveland wearing something orange on the other end.
This is DBN’s Prospect Tracker list. Now, just because a name is on this list does not mean Cleveland will select them. At the same time, a player not listed may be taken as well. Last year, the Browns had virtual meetings with 14 prospects and drafted only one: OT Jedrick Wills, Jr.
All of these meetings have been virtual:
RB/KR Kene Nwanqwu – Iowa State: Round projection: 6-7 (according to Justin Melo USA Today)
WR Dazz Newsome – North Carolina: Round projection: 5 (according to Kendall Mirsky Buffalow Down)
WR Rondale Moore – Purdue: Round projection: 4 (according to Andy Webb YardBarker.com)
WR Elijah Moore – Mississippi: Round projection: 2 (according to Corey Kinnan)
WR Tutu Atwell – Louisville: Round projection: 4 (according to George Thomas Akron Beacon Journal)
WR/KR Eli Stove – Auburn: Round projection: undrafted (according to Justin Melo USA Today)
WR/RB Demetric Felton – UCLA: Round projection: 7/undrafted (according to Justin Melo USA Today)
OG/C Quinn Meinerz – Wisconsin-Whitewater: Round projection: 4 (according to Rocco Nuosci Browns Nation)
Center Quinn Meinerz workout videos consisted of a GoPro, oversized propane tanks being thrown over his shoulder, a weight bench perched on the flat crest of a slight rock-infested hill, and climbing to the second level to uproot a small tree. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/DG4uDR8mKM— BlitzburghVideos ✨ (@BlitzVideos) April 13, 2021
OG Sam Cooper – Merrimack College: Round projection: 7 (according to Justin Melo USA Today)
TE Jack Stoll – Nebraska: Round projection: undrafted (according to Tony Pauline Pro Football Network)
DE Kwity Paye – Michigan: Round projection: 1 (according to Jeff Risdon Browns Wire)
DE Azeez Ojulari – Georgia: Round projection: 1 (according to Mary Kay Cabot cleveland.com)
DE Joe Tryon – Washington: Round projection: 2 (according to Nate Ulrich Akron Beacon Journal)
EDGE Jaelan Phillips – Miami: Round projection: 1 (according to Ben Axelrod WKYC)
DT Darius Stills – West Virginia: Round projection: 7 (according to Justin Melo USA Today)
DT Alim McNeil – North Carolina State: Round projection: 3 (according to Kevin Hickey Colts Wire)
DT Jay Tufele – USC: Round projection: 3 (according to Corey Kinnan)
Zaven Collins on meeting with Browns: 'I love the organization'https://t.co/IkrhmH1mSt— The Browns Wire (@TheBrownsWire) April 2, 2021
LB Zaven Collins – Tulsa: Round projection: 1 (according to Jeff Risdon Browns Wire)
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Notre Dame: Round projection: 1 (according to Tim Twentyman DetroitLions.com)
LB Jamin Davis – Kentucky: Round projection: 1-2 (according to Scott Petrak The Chronicle)
CB Greg Newsome – Northwestern: Round projection: 1 (according to Justin Melo USA Today)
CB Jaycee Horn – South Carolina: Round projection: 1 (according to Nate Ulrich Akron Beacon Journal)
CB Asante Samuel, Jr. - Florida State: Round projection: 1-2 (according to Justin Melo USA Today)
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley says on pro day Zoom he accepted NFL Draft invite to Cleveland.— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) March 26, 2021
Also said he's had Zoom meeting with #Browns.
CB Caleb Farley – Virginia Tech: Round projection: 1 (according to Scott Petrak Medina Gazette)
S Darren Hall – San Diego State: Round projection: 6 (according to clevelandbrowns.com)
K Evan McPherson – Florida: Round projection: undrafted (according to Justin Melo USA Today)