NFL head coaches who attended pro-day workouts

In a criminal investigation, following the money usually puts detectives on the right path to solving the crime. In trying to figure out players NFL teams are targeting in the draft, well, following the pro-day trails of NFL head coaches can provide insight into their draft-day plans.



NFL Media analyst Gil Brandt pointed this out recently on Twitter:

"I remember in 2010, calling my scouting source at the South Florida pro day," Brandt recalled. "He noted that Tom Coughlin was in attendance. I made a mental note of that because Tom rarely goes to pro days."

South Florida had several good prospects that year (the school ended up with five being drafted overall, including one in each of the first three rounds), so it was difficult to pinpoint exactly who had the attention of the New York Giants' head coach. It ended up being DE Jason Pierre-Paul, whom the Giants drafted with the 15th overall pick.

This year we tracked where NFL head coaches were showing up. The Steelers' Mike Tomlin has led all NFL coaches over the last month with eight pro day visits. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and Patriots coach Bill Belichick had the second-most visits with four, followed by the Eagles' Chip Kelly, Tennessee's Ken Whisenhunt, and Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis with three apiece.

Below is a list of head coaches who made pro-day appearances in 2015, their team's top needs, and the campuses they visited (with the school's top prospects in parentheses). Keep in mind, many head coaches show up at the local school's pro day in a show of support, so to connect them to any particular prospect in that scenario might be a mistake. Anyway, here's the list. Draw your own conclusions.

Bill Belichick, Patriots

Top team needs: G, WR, DT, S, DE
» Auburn (WR Sammie Coates, DT Gabe Wright, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, C Reese Dismukes, DT Angelo Blackson)
» Clemson (OLB Vic Beasley, NT Grady Jarrett, ILB Stephone Anthony, CB Garry Peters, DT Josh Watson)
» Central Florida (WR Breshad Perriman, CB Jacoby Glenn, WR Rannell Hall, SS Clayton Geathers)
» Maryland: (WR Stefon Diggs, NT Darius Kilgo, WR Deon Long)

Chip Kelly, Eagles

Top team needs: CB, S, G, WR, OLB
» Clemson (OLB Vic Beasley, NT Grady Jarrett, ILB Stephone Anthony, CB Garry Peters, DT Josh Watson)
» Utah (DE Nate Orchard, OG Jeremiah Poutasi, CB Eric Rowe, WR Dres Anderson)
» Connecticut (CB Byron Jones)

Jack Del Rio, Raiders

Top team needs: WR, CB, RB, OT, DL
» Stanford (OT Andrus Peat, CB Alex Carter, DE Henry Anderson, WR Ty Montgomery, NT David Parry)

Joe Philbin, Dolphins

Top team needs: WR, G, DT, CB, RB
» Miami (OT Ereck Flowers, WR Phillip Dorsett, RB Duke Johnson, ILB Denzel Perryman, TE Clive Walford, DE Anthony Chickillo, S Ladarius Gunter)

Ken Whisenhunt, Titans

Top team needs: CB, RT, DL, S, QB
» Oregon (QB Marcus Mariota, DT Arik Armstead, OT Jake Fisher, C Hroniss Grasu, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Troy Hill)
» Georgia (RB Todd Gurley, WR Chris Conley, ILB Ramik Wilson, CB Damian Swann, ILB Amarlo Herrera, DE Ray Drew)
» Florida State (QB Jameis Winston, RB Karlos Williams, CB P.J. Williams, WR Rashad Greene, OG Tre' Jackson, OG Matias Josue, TE Nick O'Leary, CB Ronald Darby, DT Mario Edwards, C Cam Erving, DT Eddie Goldman)

Lovie Smith, Buccaneers

Top team needs: QB, DE, OL, LB, WR
» Florida State (QB Jameis Winston, RB Karlos Williams, CB P.J. Williams, WR Rashad Greene, OG Tre' Jackson, OG Matias Josue, TE Nick O'Leary, CB Ronald Darby, DT Mario Edwards, C Cam Erving, DT Eddie Goldman)

Marvin Lewis, Bengals

Top team needs: NT, WR, OT, LB, TE
» Louisville (WR DeVante Parker, OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, CB Charles Gaines, OG John Miller, FS Gerod Holliman, OT Jamon Brown, DE B.J. Dubose, SS James Sample)
» Kentucky (OLB Bud Dupree, DE Za'Darius Smith, OG Darrian Miller, RB Braylon Heard)
» Ohio State (DT Michael Bennett, WR Devin Smith, CB Doran Grant, TE Jeff Heuerman, WR Evan Spencer)

Mike Tomlin, Steelers

Top team needs: CB, S, OLB, TE, OL
» Louisville (WR DeVante Parker, OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, CB Charles Gaines, OG John Miller, FS Gerod Holliman, OT Jamon Brown, DE B.J. Dubose, SS James Sample)
» Kentucky (OLB Bud Dupree, DE Za'Darius Smith, OG Darrian Miller, RB Braylon Heard)
» Ohio State (DT Michael Bennett, WR Devin Smith, CB Doran Grant, TE Jeff Heuerman, WR Evan Spencer)
» Michigan State (CB Trae Waynes, FS Kurtis Drummond, ILB Taiwan Jones, RB Jeremy Langford, WR Tony Lippett)
» Missouri (DE Shane Ray, DE Markus Golden, OG Mitch Morse)
» LSU (CB Jalen Collins, OT La'el Collins, DE Danielle Hunter, OLB Kwon Alexander, RB Terrance McGee)
» Florida State (QB Jameis Winston, RB Karlos Williams, CB P.J. Williams, WR Rashad Greene, OG Tre' Jackson, OG Matias Josue, TE Nick O'Leary, CB Ronald Darby, DT Mario Edwards, C Cam Erving, DT Eddie Goldman)
» Miami (OT Ereck Flowers, WR Phillip Dorsett, RB Duke Johnson, ILB Denzel Perryman, TE Clive Walford, DE Anthony Chickillo, S Ladarius Gunter)

Mike Zimmer, Vikings

Top team needs: OT, LB, CB, G, DT
» Minnesota (TE Maxx Williams, RB David Cobb, ILB Damien Wilson)
» Kentucky (OLB Bud Dupree, DE Za'Darius Smith, OG Darrian Miller, RB Braylon Heard)
» Michigan State (CB Trae Waynes, FS Kurtis Drummond, ILB Taiwan Jones, RB Jeremy Langford, WR Tony Lippett)
» Connecticut (CB Byron Jones)

Rex Ryan, Bills

Top team needs: QB, G, LB, DT, TE
» Clemson (OLB Vic Beasley, NT Grady Jarrett, ILB Stephone Anthony, CB Garry Peters, DT Josh Watson)

Sean Payton, Saints

Top team needs: OLB, OG, WR, TE, QB
» Florida State (QB Jameis Winston, RB Karlos Williams, CB P.J. Williams, WR Rashad Greene, OG Tre' Jackson, OG Matias Josue, TE Nick O'Leary, CB Ronald Darby, DT Mario Edwards, C Cam Erving, DT Eddie Goldman)

Todd Bowles, Jets

Pete Carroll, Seahawks

Top team needs: WR, G, OT, DT, CB
» Washington (NT Danny Shelton, CB Marcus Peters, OLB Shaq Thompson, OLB Hau'oli Kikaha, ILB John Timu)

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