Friday Football: The Supplemental Draft

Unless you’re an avid football fan, you probably missed last night’s excitement around the NFL — or rather, the lack thereof.

Last night marked the 37th year of the NFL’s Supplemental Draft, where teams can acquire players who did not enter the NFL Draft due to extenuating circumstances, such as academic ineligibility or late filing for the draft itself. If a team selects a player in the current year’s supplemental draft, then they would forfeit the corresponding pick for the following year’s draft.

In it’s history, some notable players have been selected by teams — including the likes of Bernie Kosar (’85), Brian Bosworth (’87), and Ahmad Brooks (’06) to name a few. To select these players, teams must put in a bid corresponding to a pick in the following year’s draft, and the team with the highest bid is awarded the player. For example, the Cleveland Browns selected receiver Josh Gordon (Baylor) with a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft, and thus forfeited the seventh pick in the second-round this April.

The most recent selections (in the past five years) in the supplemental draft are as follows: Gordon, Terrelle Pryor (Raiders, 2011), Josh Brent (Cowboys, 2010), Harvey Unga (Bears, 2010) and Jeremy Jarmon (Redskins, 2009). Since 2000, the supplemental draft has passed without a selection only five times (2000, 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2013).

So why were there no selections made last night? Simply put, no NFL teams decided that there was a deserving player in the pool of six eligible individuals.

Name College Pos.
James Boyd UNLV DE
Nate Holloway UNLV DT
Toby Jackson Central Fl. DE
DeWayne Peace Houston WR
O.J. Ross Purdue WR
Damond Smith So. Alabama DB

That’s not to say of these six players there isn’t a chance that they’ll latch on with a team in camp — in fact both Ross and Peace have received attention from teams in anticipation of both the draft in April and last night’s uneventful draft. At least several of the aforementioned players would have drawn interest as undrafted free-agents if not for the rule barring players who failed to file for the draft in April signing with teams.

Both Ross and Peace have been judged as talented receivers, yet problems with academic ineligibility and concerns about maturity from coaches at both the collegiate and professional levels will be a potential road block to success in the NFL. With the draft over and all six players now regarded as free-agents, expect several teams to take fliers on most, if not all, of the six.

There are several receiver needy teams that will likely be bringing in Ross and Peace for tryouts in the near future, foremost of which are the offensively-challenged New York Jets. Boyd, Holloway and Jackson could appeal to teams that have hybrid schemes or are looking for personnel to fill out holes in a new defensive scheme, like the Saints or Cowboys. The Lions, Colts, Saints and Dolphins had personnel in attendance for Damond Smith’s workout earlier this week, where the South Alabama dropout showcased exceptional athleticism that could attract any of the four teams to add a player to their defensive backfields.

I’ll be sure to provide updates on each player as developments arise in camps across the country.

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