Who would’ve thought there would be legitimate NFL draft prospects to discuss for the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft?
This kind of opportunity isn’t quite an eclipse. It follows closer to an Olympic or World Cup timeline: every four years there’s something worth talking about.
This year could be the first time since 2010 that multiple players are selected in the supplemental draft. There hasn’t been this much buzz since 2012, when wide receiver Josh Gordon was selected with a second-round bid by the Cleveland Browns.
The reason for the buzz stems from three potentially draftable prospects in this year’s class: cornerbacks Sam Beal and Adonis Alexander, and safety Brandon Bryant. The nerds of Arrowhead Pride (namely Craig Stout, Matt Lane and myself) will be profiling all three leading up to the July 11th draft that starts via e-mail at 12:00 p.m. Arrowhead time.
We start our coverage with our highest-graded player, Sam Beal.
Sam Beal, cornerback
6’ 1” | 178 lbs. | Western Michigan
Projected Draft Range: second to third round
Games watched: Eastern Michigan, Toledo, USC
I would take him in the: early third round
One sentence bio: Considered a potential top-50 selection in the 2019 draft class, Beal enters the supplemental draft process after losing eligibility due to academic issues.
One sentence scouting report: Long, athletic corner with flashes of impressive man-to-man ability that needs to continue to add weight to his frame and develop technical consistency.
#DraftmasInJuly Sam Beal needs to put a little weight on and develop consistency with his technique, but the length, fluid hips and feet make him an intriguing corner prospect. pic.twitter.com/iOjqD2Lh3N— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) July 7, 2018
Why he fits in KC: If Sam Beal is selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the supplemental draft, he will be my highest-graded prospect for their 2018 draft class. He would have been the 63rd-ranked player on my board.
Depending on who you ask, you’ll get varying opinions on the strength of cornerback position on the current roster. Outside of Kendall Fuller, there isn’t consensus confidence in the rest of the group. Cornerback was considered one of the biggest needs heading into April. It was surprising to a majority of the fanbase that the position wasn’t addressed until Tremon Smith was selected in the sixth round. There are few opportunities to acquire a player of Beal’s caliber this late into the offseason.
Beal flashes the ability to be a solid man-to-man corner. He plays with length that looks above an already stretched out 6-foot-1 frame. He is able to shrink the throwing window with his size and a 37-inch vertical. His hips show above-average fluidity, as does his foot quickness. He has the long speed and athleticism to recover and has shown the ability to make plays on the ball.
On outside releases by the receiver, Beal is dominant in man coverage. He showed a comfortability when able to use his length and the sideline to his advantage. He showed an understanding of route concepts from the outside and in the slot. At just 21 years old, Beal has plenty of projection left in his game.
There are still plenty of things Beal needs to work on. He will need to fill out his frame a little more to consistently compete in the NFL. He is a little too impatient at times in man coverage. His jam shows promise but becomes too predictable at times, leading to step-back releases by the receivers and leaving Beal whiffing and off balance.
What’s more is Beal sits on outside releases a little too often and gets beat inside with too high a frequency. He needs to work toward a better understanding of leverage so he can cut down on his inconsistencies in coverage.
That being said, there is plenty to be excited about him as a player and a lot of upside in his game. With the Chiefs staring at only Fuller and Smith guaranteed under contract for the 2019 season, adding another young, cheap, controllable body to the group a year early would help.
The downside to selecting Beal would be that he missed out on OTAs and mini-camp, losing an opportunity to get reps, comfortability and develop. Former Chiefs’ linebacker Shawn Barber did make a good point this week on Arrowhead Pride Radio that corner should be a position that allows for a more rapid catch-up than others. The Chiefs would be banking on that to be true.
The bottom line
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has shown the conviction to be aggressive about acquiring players he likes.
The Arrowhead Pride team gave Beal an early third-round grade and he seems like the kind of player that makes sense in Kansas City.
The Chiefs have two late second-round picks in the supplemental process with the inclusion of the Los Angeles Rams’ pick they acquired in the Marcus Peters trade.
The Chiefs would forfeit one of those selections if they bid on Beal’s services. One of those picks does not seem out of the realm of possibility if Veach believes in the player and would have my endorsement if it happens.