The Mixed Bag of the Supplemental Draft


At any other event, a name like Jeremy Jarmon wouldn't even be noticed. Now? We're creating entire posts around him. Why? Because we're as obsessed with player acquisitions as we are with wins and losses in the soap opera world of instant sports news and commentary. The NFL Draft brought web traffic here to record levels and it seems the upcoming 2009 Supplemental Draft will also pique the interest of the average fan more than it really should.

So what exactly is the Supplemental Draft? Is it worth looking into? Any gems to be found in the history of the NFL? And is there a gem waiting in this year's haul? We'll leave looking at individual players to the posts already up on site, but it's worth taking a general look at what to expect (or not) in the coming weeks.

A quick synopsis: the SD doesn't operate the same way the regular NFL Draft does, instead having teams submit closed or secret bids on what round they would take that player in if it was a regular draft. The team then loses that draft pick in the next year's draft. Sounds easy enough and it really is, since players are taken so rarely. Only 37 players have been taken in the 32 year history of the draft and last year there wasn't even a draft since no one applied to be taken.

The types of players that fall through the cracks are those ineligible for the regular draft, but who become open for the SD because of their college eligibility issues (such as Florida State receiver Corey Surrency). Other players have had off-the-field problems or legal woes that kept them off the NCAA display case and left them waiting for another way into an NFL camp. Either way, it's usually an eyebrow-raising scenario that almost certainly keeps ultra-conservative GMs from even scouting such players.

The Chiefs have only taken one player in the history of the Supplemental Draft and that was a second round pick of DE/DT Darren Mickell in 1992 from the University of Florida. Mickell bounced around the NFL for approximately 9 years which is an impressive shelf life, and even registered some impressive stats for the Chiefs - especially in '94 when he started 13 games and logged 7 sacks at 24-years-old. Unfortunately, he couldn't build on that talent and early career and ended up playing for New Orleans and the rest of the AFC West before retiring with 26 career sacks.

Some fantastic players have been found in the SD before. A huge controversy surrounding the Browns underhanded dealings with star Miami QB Bernie Kosar has been well-documented and led to several rules changes in the Supplemental Draft. However, that didn't stop other high-level performers like Vikings WR Cris Carter, Seahawks LB Brian Bosworth, Jets WR Rob Moore, Chargers NT Jamal Williams and OG Mike Wahle from surfacing.

Still the recent trend is that only six players have been chosen this decade and none are particularly impressive. Most interesting is Ravens LT Jared Gaither, selected in the 5th round in 2007, but it's also the same team who just took Michael Oher in this year's first round. The Chargers took CB Paul Oliver with a 4th rounder that same year, but he's a back-up free safety at this point. Other choices like Manny Wright (2005), a defensive tackle taken by the Dolphins now playing Arena Football, and Ahmad Brooks (2006), the troubled LB for the Bengals, obviously haven't panned out.

Perhaps players like Jarmon or Surrency could break the decades old trend and become a star in the NFL. But the recent stats suggest these guys will end up as rookie free agents or late round draft busts who fail to make any significant impact (except on our off-season hopes for the next great thing).

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