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NFL Supplemental Draft 2018 preview

Supplemental Draft

Next week, on Wednesday, July 11, the NFL is holding its annual Supplemental Draft. This is for players who did not declare for the normal NFL Draft but have decided that they now want to play in the NFL immediately. This can be due to personal reasons or due to the NCAA declaring the player ineligible for the upcoming season.

Usually, the NFL Supplemental Draft does not have extremely talented prospects and most teams pass on using a draft pick. In fact, only one player has been selected in the last five drafts: Isaiah Battle in 2015 with a fifth-round pick. If a team uses a pick in the supplemental draft, it loses a pick from that same round in the next season’s regular draft. Because of this, teams only take a player they truly think will make a big impact in the league and typically, the supplemental draft is not noteworthy.

However, this supplemental draft could have multiple players taken for the first time since 2010. In fact, out of the five players eligible for the draft, three (all defensive backs) have a good chance of being selected.

Here is a breakdown of the three players likely to be picked in the Supplemental Draft:

Sam Beal – CB (Western Michigan)

Sam Beal played his junior season in 2017 and was planning to return to Western Michigan for another year. However, the NCAA declared him academically ineligible to play, so he petitioned to enter the supplemental draft instead.

Supplemental Draft
Sam Beal breaks up a pass intended for USC receiver Jalen Greene (Image by USA Today/Kirby Lee)

Sam Beal has the skill-set of a typical second or third round cornerback. He has good size, is very athletic and is versatile enough to play both on the outside and in the slot. Beal has the speed, shown by his 4.47 40-yard dash, to stay with outside receivers down the field and has the awareness to follow routes. Beal could definitely improve his ball skills, as he has had a number of dropped interceptions during his college career. However, the reason he has those dropped picks is that he can read receivers and make plays on the ball.

Beal is an all-around solid prospect. While he isn’t necessarily a playmaker or shutdown corner, he is able to cover various types of receivers, including speedsters and large, physical receivers. All 32 NFL teams showed up at his pro-day workout, which is very rare for a supplemental draft prospect. This shows that many teams think he can become a consistent, reliable NFL corner.

Sam Beal has a good chance to go in the top three rounds of the supplemental draft. If so, he would join Terrelle Pryor and Josh Gordon as the only players to go that high this decade.

Possible Team: Buffalo Bills

Adonis Alexander – CB (Virginia Tech)

Supplemental Draft
Adonis Alexander goes way up to make an interception against N.C. State (Photo by Virginia Tech/Dave Knachel)

Adonis Alexander has a size and length which, along with his physical style, make him great at covering big-bodied, outside receivers. He uses physicality to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, read their routes and put himself in positions to make plays on the ball. In addition, Alexander’s length frequently allows him to break up passes even when a shiftier receiver creates separation.

Alexander is also versatile in that he can play both cornerback and safety. The Virginia Tech product has the coverage skills to be a cornerback, the position he played in college. On the other hand, he has the size and tackling/run-stopping ability to be a safety, the position VT originally recruited him to be.

However, if a team drafts Adonis Alexander in the supplemental draft, it will be late, around the sixth round. He has off-the-field issues including two suspensions. One was in 2016 for using marijuana and the other was in 2017 for violating team rules. On the field, he looked significantly less agile and athletic last season compared to the year before. The drop in athleticism could suggest a lack of work ethic during practice or in the weight room. Because of that questionable work ethic, along with lack of consistent effort on the field, some teams don’t want Alexander.

The concerns about Adonis Alexander’s effort and desire will drive some teams away. But there are certainly teams who are considering taking him late in the supplemental draft simply due to his pure ability. If Alexander fulfills his potential, he can become a Pro-Bowl defensive back in the NFL.

Possible Team: Indianapolis Colts

Brandon Bryant – S (Mississippi State)

Brandon Bryant was unable to participate in spring practices due to academic reasons, so he applied for the supplemental draft. Although not guaranteed, he could be selected late in the supplemental draft.

Supplemental Draft
Brandon Bryant as he tackles Auburn RB Devan Barrett (Image by USA Today/John Reed)

Bryant has tremendous athleticism, which is why some teams may want to take a flier on him. His physical attributes, which such as his great speed, size, and explosiveness, are outstanding. To put his all-around athleticism into perspective, Bryant’s 40-yard dash (4.45 seconds), 20-yard shuttle (4.23 secs), 3-cone drill (7.26 secs) and broad jump (10’3″) all would have been top 10 for safeties at this year’s combine. His vertical (34″) would have been top 15.

Scouts have questioned Brandon Bryant’s work ethic and desire. They have also pointed out flaws in his technique, awareness, and body positioning. Although Bryant is not the most polished or safe pick, his pure physical traits should be enough for a team to spend a sixth or seventh round pick on him in the supplemental draft.

Possible Team: Baltimore Ravens

Note: Martayveus Carter (Grand Valley State RB) and Bright Ugwoegbu (Oregon State LB) are also eligible for the supplemental draft. They are unlikely to be picked.


Featured image by NFL

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