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The process behind pre-draft visits

It’s the time of year when teams around the league are busy preparing to host or are currently hosting numerous draft prospects before the annual NFL Draft.

Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fans Chad Comeau (left) and Chris Keller pose for a photo before the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fans Chad Comeau (left) and Chris Keller pose for a photo before the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Some organizations like the Buffalo Bills announce the players they’re hosting, while others teams like the Chiefs refrain from publicly disclosing who they’ve visiting with.

Short of a player announcing a visit on social media, there’s often mystery surrounding the identity of prospects the Chiefs bring in.

But there’s even bigger confusion among a lot of fans when it comes to league rules surrounding pre-draft visits and draft prospects.

Here are the basics, as confirmed in an email exchange with Corry Rush, AFC information manager with the NFL.

Each team is:

• Allowed a maximum of 30 visits with prospects at their facility before the NFL Draft.
• Allowed to conduct interviews, physicals and written examinations.
• Not allowed to conduct workouts – timed or untimed – in the form of drills.

Meanwhile, pre-draft visits are beneficial to both parties, NFL agent Marc Lillibridge of Pro Football Syndicate said in a phone interview.

“At the Combine you only get 15 minutes with a player in an official meeting,” Lillibridge said. “When you bring them into your facility, you get hours of time to really get to know the player.”

Lillibridge has a unique perspective on the pre-draft process as a former NFL player and former NFL scout with the Green Bay Packers and Chiefs. He’s currently the only NFLPA certified agent to have played and scouted in the league.

Outside of what’s already known on film, the former NFL linebacker adds a team visit also affords an opportunity for a prospect and team representatives to watch film together or even have the player visit with the team psychologist.

Additionally, Lillibridge said teams can use a visit to take a closer look at players who may go undrafted, weren’t invited to the Combine or a college postseason all-star game.

“Draft picks are rare,” Lillibridge said. “If you’re going to invest one on a player you didn’t meet at the Combine, you want to make sure you know the player.”