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2022 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills pre-draft meeting tracker

Keeping track of the reported contact between the Bills and the rookie class

Who will the Buffalo Bills select in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft? That’s the million dollar question that’ll be answered next week. Of course, nothing stops us from trying to draw conclusions until our walls are covered with string and hastily-scrawled notes ending in question marks.

One of the few glimpses into Buffalo’s priorities and interests in the draft can be seen through their meetings with rookie prospects. The job interview is a time-honored tradition, and that holds true for the NFL, too. Players are asked about personal backgrounds, school, medical history and, of course, grilled about their understanding of the playbook. Sometimes these meetings are public knowledge, and other times they’re uncovered through players or their agents. When we see a connection, that’s a sign of “something” for the Bills and their draft priorities.

There are several categories of prospect meetings that you’ll see reported in the lead-up to the draft. We weigh some more critically than others. Below, you’ll see our explanation of these different meetings as well as (embedded in a table) our up-to-date (as far as we know it) tracker of the crucial meetings between players and the Bills.

All-Star game meetings

Teams who attend all-star games like the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game are given time in-between practices to hold short interviews with players. These are frequently informal ten-minute affairs that take place right in the hotel lobby, but sometimes a scout and a player will go more in depth. There aren’t any limitations on the number of meetings, and in fact the Philadelphia Eagles interviewed literally every single Senior Bowl prospect last year.

So while contact between the team and player is noteworthy, we don’t weigh these meetings particularly highly, as they may amount to nothing more than networking.

NFL Combine meetings

Teams are allowed to speak with any player in an informal setting at the NFL Combine, much like the system at the Senior Bowl. They’re also allotted a set of 45 “formal” meetings with players. These ones take place in a specific room at the Indianapolis Convention Center for each team, and have a limited timeslot, but are set up so that teams can bring a whole crew and run whatever type of conversation they’d like to have.

The issue with projecting team interest based on Combine meetings, of course, is that we have no easy way to distinguish between the formal and informal meetings. And it’s in an agent’s best interest to upsell any kind of interaction between a player and a team. So, again, the contact is noteworthy, but it’s not a focus.

Private meetings

Once the Combine is finished, the NFL calendar advances to the next phase. We see teams traveling to meet players, and players traveling to meet teams. One flavor of these meetups is what we’ll call a “private meeting.” Some examples of this could be a team’s national scout having dinner with a prospect, or a coach pulling a player aside the evening after his pro day in order to run through some film together. In recent years, teams have taken to using virtual calls to give them another, lower-cost avenue to go in-depth with certain players before the draft.

When we see these private meetings, we’ll call them out as important events. Teams need to reach out and schedule a prospect’s time (and their personnel’s time) to arrange them, and so the interest here absolutely establishes a connection.

“One of 30” visits

You might hear the phrase “top 30” used to describe a visit between a team and player. To set the record straight, NFL rules allow a team to host up to 30 prospects for a pre-draft visit to their facility. They’re also allowed to have unlimited local players visiting; for Buffalo, their local territory includes Syracuse, Buffalo, and Penn State. These visits are frequently billed (upsold) as “top 30” visits, because surely a team spending one of their limited 30 visits on a player would only do it if they really cared about that player.

In reality, teams use these visits for a full mix of reasons. There are definitely top prospects they want to see in great detail among the visitor roster. There are also players they didn’t get to meet at earlier events and need to speak with ahead of the draft. Players with medical flags who they want their training staff to examine. Potential UDFAs that the team wants to scout. Teammates of players they like, who might have a good perspective on those players.

So these visits are absolutely significant, and we’ll call them out as important events in our list below. But do keep in mind that these visits are not the be-all end-all they’re sometimes called out to be.

2022 NFL Draft visitors for the Buffalo Bills

Player Position School Private meeting "One of 30" Pre-draft visit
Player Position School Private meeting "One of 30" Pre-draft visit
Andrew Booth Jr. CB Clemson X
Roger McCreary CB Auburn X
DeAngelo Malone DE Western Kentucky X
Isaiah Thomas DE Oklahoma X
Nik Bonitto DE Oklahoma X
Perrion Winfrey DT Oklahoma X
Brandon Smith LB Penn State X
Brian Asomoah LB Oklahoma X
Chad Muma LB Wyoming X
Christian Harris LB Alabama X
Dylan Parham OG Memphis X
Joshua Ezeudu OG North Carolina X
Nicholas Petit-Frere OG Ohio State X
Sean Rhyan OG UCLA X
Spencer Burford OG UTSA X
Breece Hall RB Iowa State X
Isaiah Spiller RB Texas A&M X
James Cook RB Georgia X
Rachaad White RB Arizona State X
Lewis Cine S Georgia X
Nick Cross S Maryland X
Cade Otton TE Washington X
Charlie Kolar TE Iowa State X
Cole Turner TE Nevada X
Isaiah Likely TE Coastal Carolina X
Jalen Wydermyer TE Texas A&M X
James Mitchell TE Virginia Tech X
Jelani Woods TE Virginia X
Trey McBride TE Colorado State X
Charleston Rambo WR Miami X
John Metchie WR Alabama X