While the focus of the football world might be on training camps, there is one more offseason event that will take place before we can get started with the preseason. On July 11th, 2018, the NFL Supplemental Draft will occur. A supplemental draft is a special event in which a small selection of players are available and teams have the chance to draft them over seven rounds, with each round only taking 10 minutes. If a team drafts a player in the supplemental draft they then forfeit their pick in the corresponding round of next year’s draft. Due to the small selection of players and risk of losing picks in next year’s draft, the draft mainly consists of teams passing on picks until a team feels the talent outweighs the risk. The last player drafted in a supplemental draft was Isiah Battle, who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.
The NFL Supplemental Draft was created in 1977 to give college players who were unable to enter the main NFL Draft due to eligibility or other circumstances a way into the league. In the 40 years since the inception of the supplemental draft, 43 players have been drafted; eight of those 43 players have made the Pro Bowl and one has made the NFL Hall of Fame, wide receiver Cris Carter who had been suspended and declared ineligible prior to his senior season after signing with an agent. Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon, who currently plays for the Cleveland Browns, was drafted in the 2012 supplemental draft after being suspended in college due to a failed drug test.
In the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft, five players are eligible to be drafted. Here is the breakdown of those players.
Adonis Alexander – CB, Virginia Tech
Adonis Alexander appears to be a lock to be drafted in the supplemental draft this year, as he is likely the most talented prospect to enter the supplemental draft since Josh Gordon in 2012. Alexander played 32 games over the course of three seasons with Virginia Tech, recording 125 tackles and seven interceptions in those games.
Despite Alexander reportedly received positive reactions from many NFL teams during the 2018 draft process, he decided to return for his senior season anyway. However, Alexander was suspended from the team due to his academic standing with the university at the beginning of June. Rather than wait a season to enter the NFL Draft, he chose to apply for the supplemental draft and was accepted.
Alexander is a hybrid defensive back, having the speed and ball skills of an elite cornerback with the size and physicality of a safety. It is unknown how high a team will be willing to take him, as there are concerns regarding his motivation on the field as well as the fact that he was suspended multiple times in college for drug use and the violation of team rules. Still, if Alexander is able to avoid off-field problems in the NFL there is a chance he could be an instant difference maker during his rookie season on the right team.
Sam Beal – CB, Western Michigan
Sam Beal is another player who is definitely expected to be drafted during the supplemental draft this year. Beal was projected as a first-round pick for the 2019 NFL Draft but decided to enter the supplemental draft and forego his senior season at Western Michigan.
Beal certainly has all the potential in the world but lacks experience. Beal played wide receiver in high school and during his freshman season at Western Michigan but switched to cornerback prior to his sophomore year. During his two seasons at the corner position, Beal played 24 games and recorded 77 tackles, 18 defended passes and two interceptions. There is risk involved in this pick for sure, but there is also potential that Beal could be a talented starter in this league with some more experience under his belt.
Brandon Bryant – CB, Mississippi State
Brandon Bryant has two concerns for being drafted in the supplemental draft: first, he is the third best cornerback in a draft where three of the five players are cornerbacks and, second, scouts believe him to be an off-field mess. With questions about his character and discipline at the professional level, many would be surprised to see Bryant drafted here.
Martayveus Carter – RB, Grand Valley State
Martayveus Carter was one of the best running backs in the Division II football. However, that doesn’t mean he will be drafted. While Carter may likely be signed by a team to see what he can do in training camp, the belief around the league is that he projected to be an undrafted free agent either way and a team will likely decide to keep their 2019 draft picks rather than taking a flyer on Carter.
Bright Ugwoegbu – LB, Oregon State
Bright Ugwoegbu was productive at times during his three seasons at Oregon State but seems unlikely to be drafted after disappointing workouts in front of NFL scouts. Ugwoegbu is undersized at the linebacker position (standing just over six feet and weighing less than 210 pounds) but lacks the speed needed to make up for his size. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated wrote Ugwoegbu has “safety size, with defensive tackle speed”. That is not a good scouting report to have attached to you entering a draft process in which most teams find sacrificing 2019 picks to be too much of a cost anyway.