Each NFL team is allowed 30 "official visits" by Draft prospects to their facilities. These visits are ostensibly used to get to know a player better and to see how they interact with coaches and staff, among other things. We've tracked these visits in the past, with varied success and results. Tracking visits and rumored interest can be an exercise in futility - teams legitimately use these as smokescreens to hide their true interest, or they may in fact be interested and want you to think it's a smokescreen. It's lying season at its best, and John Schneider has said in the past that he takes great pride in his scouting team's ability to keep things under wraps.
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.
By doing this there is no way the media or other teams could gauge how we were approaching a given draft.
One year, we had pretty much made up our minds on the player we wanted in the first round by January. In February, I made a visit to the school this player was attending to talk to the player and his coaches.
In an attempt to not let anyone link that player to us, we didn't interview the player at that year's combine, nor did we send a coach to work him out at his pro day. When we brought in other players at the same position for a pre-draft visit we let the local media know who those players were.
In the last two weeks leading up to the draft many in the media felt that it was a lock we were going to take a high-profile player we brought in for a visit. On draft day that year, a team behind us traded up to get in front of us before selecting the same player linked to us by media analysts. We just quietly smiled as a different player-the one we had for months actually wanted-was still there when we made the pick.
So, is there a point in tracking this stuff? Maybe, maybe not! I will say that in the past, Seattle has used some of these visits to host a few late-round UDFA types that they like. They'd have them come to the VMAC and visit CenturyLink Field as a sort of recruitment pitch -- get them into the excellent facilities and get them pumped up to become a Seahawk by putting their names on the big screen in the CLink -- knowing these players might be undrafted and get the option of choosing from a number of clubs.
Like Gabriel said above though, I think the Hawks rotate their strategy to avoid a pattern, so who knows what any of all this means.
Nonetheless, we toil. Here's what Davis Hsu sent me this morning (as compiled by Hsu and Jared Stanger) -- a list of the reported visits Seattle has had with players, plus an ad-hoc list of pro days that Seattle has notably been at. The Oregon, Montana, and surrounding area visits may be considered 'local' visits and not be part of the official 30-count.
VMAC visits 2014:
WR Cody Latimer, Indiana -- 6'2, 215
WR Bradin Cooks, Oregon State -- 5'10, 190 (may be offsite visit)
RB Terrance West, Towson -- 5'9, 225
FB/DT Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest -- 5'11, 255
OT/OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill -- 6'5, 300 (aka LDT or "Larry")
LB Brock Coyle, Montana -- 6'1, 235
LB Jordan Tripp, Montana -- 6'3, 234
WR Kevin Cummings, Oregon State -- 6'1,184
OT Ulrick John, Georgia State -- 6'7, 300
Coaches at key Pro Days:
Miami: Tom Cable & offensive line coaches (Seantrel Henderson, Brandon Linder)
Tennessee: Tom Cable & offensive line coaches (Ju'Wuan James, Tiny Richardson, James Stone, Zach Fulton)
Louisville: Dan Quinn & defensive line coaches (Marcus Smith, etc)
Florida State: Dan Quinn & defensive line coaches (Timmy Jernigan, Christian Jones)
Oregon State: Kippy Brown, wide receiver coach (Brandin Cooks)
Washington: Entire coaching staff, plus John Schneider (Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bishop Sankey)
Go ahead and note below, with citation, if you've seen others. We'll add them to the list.