The NFL uses the Supplemental Draft to allow prospects the ability to enter the pros if they have become eligible after the date of the April NFL draft. Anything from academic issues to off-the-field concerns have led to players in the past entering the league through this route. The most recent supplemental draft picks have been Terrelle Pryor in 2011 (third-round by Oakland) Josh Gordon the next year (second-round by Cleveland), and offensive tackle Isaiah Battle, a fifth-round pick by the Rams in 2015 who is now with the Seattle Seahawks.
Here’s how the supplemental draft works:
The supplemental draft separates all 32 NFL teams into three groups.
Group A: non-playoff teams with less than seven 2017 wins
Group B: non-playoff teams with seven or more 2017 wins. (The Seahawks fall in this group)
Group C: 2017 playoff teams
If a team wants to select a player from the supplemental pool, they will have to submit a bid for that player, with the round of draft pick they wish to surrender for him. The team that offers the earliest round selection gets to draft that player. In turn, they forfeit an equivalent round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. For example, a team that submits a second-round bid on a player in this year’s supplemental draft will forfeit its second-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. If multiple teams offer the same round bid on a player, the Group A team gets priority over teams from Group B, and Group B gets priority over teams from Group C.
Currently, the Seahawks are sitting with six draft picks in 2019 (minus a second-rounder sent to the Texans for Duane Brown). The Legion of Boom is reeling from the losses of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and the holdout of Earl Thomas. The 2018 Supplemental Draft may just be the perfect avenue to add some much-needed talent and depth to the secondary.
Here are three players in the supplemental pool that the Seahawks could target:
Adonis Alexander, Cornerback, Virginia Tech:
The former Virginia Tech defensive back applied to enter the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft after being ruled academically ineligible for his senior season. The 6-foot-3 cornerback has the size and raw talent to draw instant comparisons to former Seahawk Richard Sherman. A long and lean player who saw time at multiple spots in the defensive backfield for the Hokies, Alexander has the physicality to be a very good boundary corner. He has the instincts to excel in both press-man and zone schemes. An above average tackler, Adonis would provide quality depth at both safety and corner and can contribute on special teams. In 32 games at Virginia Tech Alexander totaled seventeen passes defended, seven interceptions, 125 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.
There are some other off-field issues surrounding Alexander, including an April 2016 arrest for marijuana possession. Adonis served a one-game suspension for the arrest and was also suspended the first two games of 2017 for violations of team rules. He flashed as an intriguing pro prospect in 2015 and ’16 but struggled with inconsistency last season. The majority of draft pundits rank his value as a sixth-round pick in the supplemental draft.
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Brandon Bryant, Safety, Mississippi State:
Bryant is a freak athlete, having appeared on a 2017 list of NFL.com’s fastest collegiate players. He’s been timed with multiple sub-4.30 second 40-yard dashes and has been recorded as fast as 4.24 seconds. One of the SEC’s top safeties, Bryant finished his career at Mississippi State with 157 tackles. In addition, he had five interceptions in 37 games. Bryant announced his decision to leave college after being withheld from spring practices for academic reasons. Despite being another player who has struggled with consistency, Bryant offers plus size (6-0, 219 pounds) and athleticism at the safety spot. The Seahawks may view Brandon as a developmental prospect who could be groomed to fill Earl Thomas’ role down the road. A likely sixth or seventh round bid.
Sam Beal, Cornerback, Western Michigan:
At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Beal is a defensive back with the prototypical size Seattle covets. After not accruing enough credits to be eligible to play out his senior season, Beal filed to enter the supplemental draft. The best bet to get selected, Beal had a solid senior season with ten pass break-ups and two interceptions, including one off the New York Jets 2018 first round pick, Sam Darnold. Beal is a long-limbed player with the physicality to excel in press-man schemes. He has shown the ability to hold his own in off and zone coverage. He is still a bit raw after joining Western Michigan as a wide receiver in 2015. Beal made the switch to cornerback the following year. Prior to his announcement to enter the supplemental draft, Beal was earning preliminary grades as a first or second-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft. He is likely to draw a second-round bid.
Workout dates for top 3 supplemental draft prospects:
CB Adonis Alexander: w/o 6/18 (no exact date yet), at Va Tech
CB Sam Beal: 6/28 at WMU
S Brandon Bryant, 6/29 at MSU
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) June 12, 2018
Though each one of these players can be considered a bit raw, they would all be ideal developmental candidates for the Seahawks. No firm date has been set for the supplemental draft yet, but it is expected to occur sometime in July.
David Rogers covers the Seahawks for Full Press Coverage. Follow him on Twitter.