It's Thursday which means the 2013 NFL Supplemental Draft is upon us. For most NFL fans, the actual presentation of real news and player acquisitions is a welcome respite from the boredom of mid-summer (NFL-wise, at least). However, the actual process of the Supplemental Draft remains a mystery for many casual fans. To that end, we're here to help.
The Supplemental Draft exists to offer a chance for NFL franchises to grab players that fell between the cracks of the actual NFL Draft held in April. The official Draft each spring features teams selecting only eligible prospects. Specifically players must be out of high school for at least three years, although he doesn't specifically have to be a college football player. Redshirt sophomores are eligible as long as they meet the three year requirement, and players from other professional leagues are available as well.
So where do the players in the Supplemental Draft come in? If a player missed the deadline to apply for the NFL Draft, they can apply for the Supplemental Draft instead. Consider the case of a player who has been declared academically ineligible for the upcoming NCAA season or kicked off of a team. Instead of missing an entire year on the field, NFL teams can take a chance on what are typically a class of fringe prospects at best.
If a team like the Kansas City Chiefs wants to take a particular player, it will submit a bid of a certain round, from 1st to 7th, to the league in hopes of being the highest bidder. If a team is awarded a player, the team forfeits the selection of that round in the following year's NFL Draft. Thus when the Oakland Raiders selected Terrelle Pryor in the 2011 Supplemental Draft, they lost their third round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Because a player who petitions for the Supplemental Draft is likely forced to do so due to troublesome circumstances, the players are often regarded as character concerns for one reason or another. Last year's only player chosen, Josh Gordon, is the perfect example of the sort of headaches and baggage that come with some Supplemental selections. The Browns enjoyed the on-field production of Gordon as a rookie, but are now dealing with a suspended player with major maturity concerns.
The reality of the Supplemental Draft is that very little impact should be expected from the prospects available. There's a reason they fell through the cracks and it's unlikely that any of this year's six eligible players will stick. Gordon looked nice last year, but he's likely to be a long-term behavioral concern for the Browns for some time. Terrelle Pryor has yet to see meaningful action on the field. Other lackluster picks in recent years include Harvey Unga (Bears), Jeremy Jarmon (Redskins) and Manuel Wright (Dolphins). And this doesn't even touch the Josh Brent situation that the Cowboys are dealing with.
However, there are reasons for some teams to hope they struck gold. Jared Gaither will be a familiar name for Chiefs fans and he entered the league through the Supplemental Draft. NFL greats like Bernie Kosar, Cris Carter, Rob Moore and Mike Wahle were also Supplemental picks. In short, very few players are ever selected and the success rate of those few is even smaller.
While the scale of the spotlight on event like the NFL Supplemental Draft is disproportional to the impact of the players involved, it's understandable given the time of year and lack of NFL news. Chiefs fans should expect to watch the event come and go, however, with no new acquisitions to speak of. If so, it's likely going to be a very late round pick on a prospect with an uphill climb ahead.