The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to bring in draft prospects for visits, the latest one being Johnny Manziel. We didn't have a good collection of which players visited with the Buccaneers, however -- but we do, now. Do these visits mean anything, though?
From this 2011 Pro Football Talk piece, teams are allowed to bring in 30 players for visits, plus local prospects (those either from or studying in the team's metropolitan area). Visits are a limited commodity, and teams are unlikely to use them on players they're not interested in. That doesn't mean they really want to draft all of these players -- they may simply be looking for answers to questions or doubts. But to treat them as smokescreens is unwise: they do mean there's some level of interest.
Of course, there's bound to be some deception in these visits. As former Chicago Bears scouting director Greg Gabriel explains, changing up your pattern of visits is fairly common.
What I used to do when scheduling visits was to change whom I brought in every year so there was never a pattern as to which player was going to visit. One year, we brought in players whom we were thinking of targeting in the first three rounds. The next year I brought in some people we had already eliminated and players we wanted to "recruit" for post-draft free agency. The following year I brought in a combination of the two.
So keep that in mind. These visits probably signal a level of interest, but there may be a few they're not interested in at all -- and a few players they may like, but only if they fall in the draft. What is interesting is that they've brought in four different quarterbacks, and four offensive linemen -- and probably a few more we haven't heard about.
We'll keep this list updated throughout the pre-draft process. Note that the Walter Football-sourced visits may also be private workouts in the player's college or home town.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (via Ian Rapoport)
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (via Tampa Tribune)
Garrett Gilbert, SMU (via Gil Brandt)
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois (via Roy Cummings)
Derek Carr, Fresno State (via Ian Rapoport)
Blake Bortles (via Albert Breer, probably a private workout instead of a visit)
Tajh Boyd (via Rand Getlin, private workout)
James Wilder Jr., FSU (via his own Twitter -- because he's from Tampa, this visit does not count against 30-visit limit)
Dri Archer, Kent State (via Gil Brandt)
J.C. Copeland (fullback), LSU (via Aaron Wilson - private workout)
Charles Sims, Western Virginia (via Adam Caplan - private workout)
Solomon Patton, Florida (via Bryan Holt - this may be a local workout instead of a visit)
Paul Richardson, Colorado (via Gil Brandt - this may be a workout)
Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss (via Gil Brandt)
Albert Wilson, Georgia State (via Draft Diamonds)
Alex Bayer, Bowling Green (via Walter Football - may be private workout)
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa (via Eric Dellaratta)
Billy Turner, North Dakota State (via Gil Brandt)
Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (via NFL.com)
Greg Robinson, Auburn (via Walter Football - may be private workout)
Garrett Scott, Marshall (via Rick Stroud)
Kevin Pamphile, Purdue (via Tony Pauline)
Trai Turner, LSU (via National Football Post - private workout)
Jon Halapio, Florida (via Ian Rapoport, private workout)
Larry Webster, Bloomsburg (via Tony Pauline)
Dee Ford, Auburn (via NFL.com)
Jonathan Newsome, Ball State (via Greg Auman)
Khalil Mack, Buffalo (via JoeBucsFan)
Marquis Spruill, Syracuse (via Adam Caplan)
Telvin Smith, Florida State (via Aaron Wilson - private workout)
Nate Askew, Texas A&M (via the National Football Post)
Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (via Gil Brandt -- may be a workout with Fuller in Virginia or Baltimore, rather than bringing him in to Tampa for a visit)
Phillip Gaines, Rice (via Tony Pauline -- may be a workout instead of a visit)
Walt Aikens, Liberty (via Aaron Wilson)