NFL Supplemental Draft – What is it? How does it work? Who has been drafted in the past?

The NFL supplemental draft is held every year after the regular draft in April, normally in early July. It is held so that if a prospect will not be eligible for the upcoming college football season can apply to play in the NFL and without the supplement draft it would leave the prospect in limbo for a full year. If a player wants to be included in the supplemental draft, a formal petition needs to be filed with the league and not every player is guaranteed admittance. Players need to be at least three years removed from high school to be eligible for the supplemental draft. The most common reason a player will enter the supplemental draft is because of not being eligible due to academic reasons. But other reason do come up as to why a player would be ruled eligible to be included in the supplemental draft.

The supplemental draft order is different from the regular draft order. Teams are separated into three groups based on the previous season; the first group are non-playoff teams that had six or fewer wins. The second group are non-playoff teams with more six wins. And the final group are playoff teams. The order in those groups are determined by a weighted lottery with the teams with the fewest wins given the best chance to win the earliest picks. Bids for players are submitted blindly by teams with the round that given team would want to select a given player. Obviously, the team highest in the draft order who submits the earliest-round bid for a player will be awarded that player. When that happens, that club forfeits a pick in the same round of next year’s regular draft.

Last year two players where selected in the NFL Supplemental Draft, Sam Beal, Western Michigan by the New York Giants in the 3rd round, and Adonis Alexander, Virginia Tech by the Washington Redskins in the 6th round.

If a player enters the supplemental draft and is not drafted then he automatically becomes a free-agent and then is able to sign with any team.

Past NFL Supplemental Draft picks:

1977       Al Hunter             RB           4th         Seattle Seahawks             Notre Dame       Suspended from the team for disciplinary reasons.

1978       Johnnie Dirden  WR         10th       Houston Oilers  Sam Houston State          dropped out of college after two years.

Rod Connors      RB           12th       San Francisco 49ers         USC        dropped out of college with eligibility remaining.

1979       Rod Stewart       RB           6th         Buffalo Bills         Kentucky

1980       Matthew Teague             DE           7th         Atlanta Falcons Prairie View A&M

Billy Mullins        WR         9th         San Diego Chargers         USC        declared ineligible when it was discovered that he gained credits simultaneously from four junior colleges in the fall of 1977 in order to gain entry to USC.

1981       Dave Wilson       QB          1st          New Orleans Saints         Illinois   declared ineligible amid questions about his high school transcript and junior college stay.

Chy Davidson     WR         11th       New England Patriots     Rhode Island

1982       Kevin Robinson CB           9th         Detroit Lions      North Carolina A&T

1985       Bernie Kosar       QB          1st          Cleveland Browns            Miami (FL)           Graduated after his junior year.

Roosevelt Snipes              RB           8th         San Francisco 49ers         Florida State       Academically ineligible.

1986       Charles Crawford             RB           7th         Philadelphia Eagles          Oklahoma State Crawford missed his senior year with an injury and declared for the supplemental draft amid questions about whether his eligibility would be extended (currently, medical redshirt status would be given before the draft deadline).

1987       Brian Bosworth LB           1st          Seattle Seahawks             Oklahoma           Bosworth had been dismissed from the Oklahoma football team following the 1986 season. Since he was a junior, he was eligible to be chosen in the 1987 draft but did not declare before the deadline[10] and decided to wait for the supplemental draft, which he was eligible for due to his graduation from Oklahoma one year early.

Dan Sileo             DT           3rd         Tampa Bay Buccaneers  Miami (FL)           Sileo was declared ineligible by the NCAA for his senior season.

Cris Carter        WR         4th         Philadelphia Eagles          Ohio State           Carter was suspended before his senior season for signing with an agent.

1988       Ryan Bethea      WR         5th         Minnesota Vikings           South Carolina   Suspended from team over drug arrests

1989       Steve Walsh       QB          1st          Dallas Cowboys Miami (FL)           Walsh did not declare for the draft before its deadline.

Timm Rosenbach             QB          1st          Phoenix Cardinals            Washington State            Rosenbach did not declare for the draft before its deadline.

Bobby Humphrey             RB           1st          Denver Broncos Alabama

Brett Young        DB          8th         Buffalo Bills         Oregon

Mike Lowman    RB           12th       Dallas Cowboys Coffeyville Community College

1990       Rob Moore         WR         1st          New York Jets    Syracuse              Moore graduated from college with a year of eligibility remaining, and did not declare in time for regular draft.

Willie Williams   TE           9th         Phoenix Cardinals            LSU

1992       Dave Brown        QB          1st          New York Giants               Duke     Brown graduated from college with a year of eligibility remaining, and did not declare for the NFL until after the regular draft had been held. Brown is the last player taken in the first round of the supplemental draft.

Darren Mickell   DE           2nd        Kansas City Chiefs            Florida  Mickell was suspended from team for senior season for undisclosed violations of team rules.

1994       Tito Wooten      CB           4th         New York Giants               Northeast Louisiana

John Davis           TE           5th         Dallas Cowboys Emporia State

1995       Darren Benson  DT           3rd         Dallas Cowboys Trinity Valley Community College

1998       Mike Wahle        OT          2nd        Green Bay Packers           Navy      Wahle was suspended for senior season by the NCAA after testing positive for steroids.

Jamal Williams   NT          2nd        San Diego Chargers         Oklahoma State Williams was declared academically ineligible before his senior season.

1999       J’Juan Cherry      CB           4th         New England Patriots     Arizona State    

2002       Milford Brown   G             6th         Houston Texans Florida State       He had used up his five-year competition eligibility.

2003       Tony Hollings     RB           2nd        Houston Texans Georgia Tech      He was academically ineligible for the 2003 college season.

2005       Manuel Wright  DT           5th         Miami Dolphins USC        Chose entering the draft over not playing college football while trying to regain his academic eligibility.

2006       Ahmad Brooks   LB           3rd         Cincinnati Bengals           Virginia He was dismissed from his college team.

2007       Paul Oliver          S              4th         San Diego Chargers         Georgia He left college because of academic problems.

Jared Gaither     OT          5th         Baltimore Ravens             Maryland             He was declared academically ineligible in college.

2009       Jeremy Jarmon DE           3rd         Washington Redskins     Kentucky             Suspended over failed drug test.

2010       Harvey Unga      FB           7th         Chicago Bears    BYU        Expelled for disciplinary reasons.

Josh Brent           NT          7th         Dallas Cowboys Illinois   He was reportedly academically ineligible for the 2010 college football season

2011       Terrelle Pryor    QB          3rd         Oakland Raiders               Ohio State           Suspended as part of NCAA investigation into improper benefits.

2012       Josh Gordon       WR         2nd        Cleveland Browns            Baylor   Dismissed for failed marijuana test.

2015       Isaiah Battle       OT          5th         St. Louis Rams   Clemson              Had “family matters to attend”, as well as off-field issues.

2018       Sam Beal              CB           3rd         New York Giants               Western Michigan           He was declared academically ineligible in college.

Adonis Alexander            CB           6th         Washington Redskins     Virginia Tech      He was declared academically ineligible in college

Why College Football All-Star Games Matter

By Justin VanFulpen

One of the biggest things in the pre-draft process is the different all-star games.  I have had the opportunity to be involved with 6 College Football all-star games.  Five Texas vs. the Nation games and as well as the Player All-Star Classic in 2012, mainly working with the player personnel but also having other duties.

At the NFL Combine in 2016, former NFL GM Ray Farmer said about All-Star Games.

“I put more stock in that then combine stuff, the reason I do that, it’s ball… All-Star Games matter because it is good on good.”  

College football all-star games are about giving players an opportunity to show their skills in front of NFL scouts. In this environment where player come from all levels of competition the NFL scouts are evaluating not only the one-on-one and team practices but how fast can a player picks up the offense or defense that is being installed since everything is done within that game week.

Small school prospects that get into one of the major all-star games have a great ability to help themselves in the draft process because it shows scouts that the level of competition is not too high for them since that will be one of the biggest questions mark for that prospect to answer.

In this years Senior Bowl the game had 10 first round draft picks and 93 overall and saw QB Daniel Jones, Duke who was the game MVP, helped himself be the number overall six pick by the New York Giants.

In the 2018 Senior Bowl QB Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen both played in the game and both helped their stock and both end up in the top 10 in the NFL Draft.

QB Carson Wentz from North Dakota State who end up as the number two pick overall by the Philadelphia Eagles raised his draft stock from his week of practice at the Senior Bowl.  OT Eric Fisher from Central Michigan in 2013 went from a late first round pick to the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft after his week at the Senior Bowl.

Players who are Seniors can get an idea of what the NFL think about them based on what all-star game the get invited to and not getting invited to a game says a lot because the directors of all-star games are talking with scouts to see who they want to see in a game. True going to the Senior Bowl doesn’t mean you are getting drafted in the first round but it can help your draft stock if you have a good week at any of the all-star games.

But it is not just about the Senior Bowl, all the All-Star games matter, the East West Shrine game, the NFLPA Bowl, Tropic Bowl, College Gridiron Show, etc. All-Star games are the second most import thing in the draft evaluation process after the prospects season film evaluation.

2019 NFL Draft: Conference Breakdown

Overall Picks:

SEC: 64
Big Ten: 40
Pac-12: 33
ACC: 28
Big 12: 26
American: 11
Mount West: 10
MAC: 9
Independent FBS: 8
C-USA: 6
CAA: 3
OVC: 2
Sun Belt: 1
Big Sky: 1
GSC: 1
LSC: 1
MEC: 1

By 1st round picks:

SEC: 9
Big 10: 7
ACC: 7
Pac-12: 3
Big-12: 3
American: 1
Independent: 1

Full breakdown:

Big Ten727785440
Big 12335623426
Ind. (FBS)11220118
Sun Belt00000101
Big Sky00000011

Why “Spring Grades” are Important to NFL Prospects

By Justin VanFulpen

When NFL scouts from the two scouting services BLETSO and National go into a school to do their junior evaluation they are looking to grade the NFL draft prospects for the next year’s draft but also to eliminate players as guys who can’t play in the NFL.  The scouts give those players “reject” grades so scout in the fall don’t have to spend time on players who are deemed not NFL players.

The scouting services grade over 13,000 senior college football players each year at all levels of football and normally there are around 600 with draft able or free-agent grades.  True do players with “reject” grades get draft? Yes but it is few and far between.

BLETSO and National have their spring meeting to go over grades around Labor Day time in May to be able to help set the scouts schedule for training camps visits in the summer.  Prospects are not told what their spring grade is by the two scouting services, but normally in the summer the grades get out and agents, financial advisors, media members and all-star games get their hands on them.

What goes into a spring grade:

  1. Junior Film
  2. Height/Weight/Speed – The scouts either get that information when on campus when the measure and weigh the prospect as well as get hand size and arm length. Some school will allow the prospects to run the 40 for the scouts but that is very few and mainly smaller schools. Some schools don’t allow scouts to do height/weight so the scout will just have to estimate the prospect height/weight/40 time.
  3. Background – Scouts will try to get information on prospect past both off the field and medical.

Spring grades are important for a number of reasons:

1. It is a road map for NFL scouts in the fall to where they should spend their most time.

2. National Scouting runs the NFL Combine so if a player has a good spring grade he is more likely to get invited then if he doesn’t.

3. All-Star games try to get their hands on these grades and use them when they start to invite players to their games.

True as a Senior what you do on the field is most import to your final NFL draft grade, but it doesn’t hurt to start with a good spring grade going into your Senior season.

Task of an NFL Agent pre-Draft

By Justin VanFulpen

All-Games: Even before an agent signing a prospect he/she is most likely contacting the director of the all-star games but especially after a client has signed with an agent are they contacting the directors to see if they can get their client in a game. With the All-Star games being the last time football is practice or played it is the last time the NFL scouts will have a chance to evaluate the prospect in person, and as we always see players rise and sliding because of all-star game practice and game performances.

Film: Agents should be contacting scouts and coaches to sell and promote their clients best game film against their best level of competition that they played. With the game films agents can sell to scouts and coaches how their prospect fits into the team’s schemes and how they would be an upgrade to their roster.

NFL Scouts:  Scouts make their own judgement and are paid to give their opinion on a prospects ability to play in the NFL.  Agents are contacting scouts to give them information about their prospect and sell their prospects ability to play football.

Promotion of Prospect: An agent is looking to use the media as a form of getting their prospects story out there also to make sure other teams know that there is more than just one team interested in the prospect. Also an agent is looking to see what deals that they can make in with different companies to make their prospect additional money off the field.  Some agent or agency might outsource these two jobs.  Also each prospects ability to make money off the field will be different based on how high they are projected to be drafted as well as what position that they play.

Knowledge of the NFL Landscape:  Each prospect is in competition with every player in their position as well as the current players at their position in the NFL, so an agent needs to have a working knowledge base to properly advise their client. They need to know what they of offense and defense scheme a team runs.  It would be embarrassing if an agent was promoting a 3-4 defense end (5 tech) to a team that runs a 4-3 defense. Also if a prospect is not drafted where he is advising his client to sign is a big deal as if this prospect is just a “camp body” or has an actually shot at making the 53-man roster. What is the agent using to make a determination, what they are offer as a signing bonus or what the team currently has on their roster at their client position and the scheme the team runs? So knowledge of the NFL is an important thing.

These are just some of the tasks that an agent performs per draft there are many additional ones after the draft is over.

What NFL Draft Grades are made up of per NFL Scouts

By Justin VanFulpen

Film (80%) – Your level of competition and how you played against the best level of competition you faced that year.  Each NFL team will view around 3 full games of your current season normally against who is the best competition. This also includes if a prospect plays in any of the college football all-star games.

Athletic Numbers (10%) – Height, Weight, Speed.  Teams are looking at the film first and then see if the prospect checks off the box in the athletic numbers per the position.  But still the film comes first. 

Injury History/Off Field/Football IQ (10%) –  Any major injuries, anything major off the field, love of the game, film study.  Scouts are check social media, talking to high school coaches, strength coaches, academic advisors, current coaches as they try to find out as much information on the prospect on and off the field. Teams will reject players fully for injury and off the field issues no matter how good a player is on the field.