Things NFL Draft Prospects can do to improve draft odds due to COVID-19

I have received questions from players on what they can do since the 2021 NFL Draft process was interrupted due to COVID-19.  Many senior prospects didn’t have a “Junior Day” because campus where shut down before BLETSO or National Football scouts, the two scouting services the NFL uses, could get on campus. 

1.       Get your own measurements – As we saw before the 2020 NFL Draft, guys did their own Pro Day testing, so that scouts could get the information.  If you are able to do your own height/weight/40, etc, you should do it, and be honest about everything.  Even if one scouts get that information, see it on Twitter, You Tube, etc there are advantages.  One they might do more research on you as a player and make sure they keep an eye on you.  Two they will see you are serious about football and the next level process. Three you will know where you are at and how you can improve before the NFL combine, or your Pro Day in 2021.  If you are not on the mock draft projected as a 1st round pick, you can use all the help you can get, especially if you are not from a Power 5 conference school.    

2.       Check Your Eligibility – With COVID-19 and schools going to online classes, some school grading has been changed from normal grade scales.  But if a prospect is not going to be eligible in the fall, he would want to look into the NFL Supplemental Draft process.  The NFL has said it will not change the requirements for the Supplemental Draft due to COVID-19, so there isn’t expected to be a higher number of players allowed in it, but something to check out to make sure you know where you are.

3.       Thinking about Transferring –  There is a possibility that some school will remain online in the fall and because of that the prospect of playing football in the fall would remain unlikely.  The California State University system plans to move forward with virtual classes through the fall semester, and we could see other follow the same thought process. Since transferring down a level (FCS, D2, D3) doesn’t require you to sit out even if you haven’t graduated, for your NFL dreams it will be better to play this season and get film that not getting any film at all and hoping for the best.

4.       Make Sure To Stay in Shape – When/If you get back to being able to go to the school facility you want to make sure you are ready to go.  

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