(Philadelphia, Pa) —- An event that most fans don’t know about takes place July 12th as the NFL holds this year’s “Supplemental Draft”. The draft used to be conducted on a conference call but now it is performed via e-mail. All 32 teams will be involved in the three-step, weighted process. Teams with six wins or less in 2006 participate in the first lottery for the top six picks, followed by a second group of non-playoff teams and a third group of the 12 playoff teams from last season. If a team elects to use a supplemental draft pick on one of the eligible prospects, that team will give up its pick in the same round in next April’s draft (2008).
We will have to see if any of this year’s 10 players that have applied to the “special” draft for a number of reasons (Academics, Family Obligations, etc) will garner a pick. But usually the players in this “special “ draft go unselected and an undrafted free agent or AFL/CFL career awaits them. Since the draft’s inception in 1977, thirty-six players have been selected with nine never playing in a regular-season game (Future HOF Cris Carter is the high water mark selected by the Eagles in 1987 – 4th rd). Last Year, the Bengals took a shot and gave up a 2007 3rd round pick when they selected Virginia MLB Ahmad Brooks. Brooks rewarded them by starting a couple of games late in the season and filling in well enough that he should challenge suspended player Odell Thurman for the starting job this season.
Top Prospects in the 2007 Supplemental Draft Include:
- Maryland OT Jared Gaither (6’8, 325) – A large mauling OT, who has had several problems staying on the field (preseason suspension, injuries and academic troubles). He is arguably the most sought after prospect to take the supplemental draft route since Brian Bosworth (Seahawks, 1987). Gaither emerged as perhaps the Terrapins’ most talented lineman in his first season when he started eight games as a freshman at Left OT. As a freshman he showed his athleticism and potential by not allowing a sack. He then showed his versatility by switching to Right Offensive Tackle in 2006 starting nine games. He reminds me of Eagles 2006 Draftee Winston Justice (Good Reach, Punch, and Feet). The Ravens, Falcons, and Jaguars are all rumored to be looking hard at him.
- Georgia DB Paul Oliver (5’11, 198) – A tenacious defender, who does not possess top-level CB speed (4.5). I could see him moving to FS like the Patriots Eugene Wilson or he might be a better fit as a CB in a Tampa-2 coverage scheme where he would be asked to guard an area of the field. He showed that he was a player by having his best game versus 2007 NFL Draft Number #2 Overall pick GT wide receiver Calvin Johnson, holding him to two catches for 13 yards. Last season he had three interceptions, two sacks and was the team’s fifth-leading tackler. He reminds me of Colts 2007 Draftee CB Daymeion Hughes. The Vikings, Chargers, Falcons, and Chiefs are rumored to be interested in him.
- Texas State-San Marcos LB Mark Washington ( 6’2, 250 ) – Started his career at Arizona State (played in 8 games in 2005) and has played defensive end, defensive tackle and linebacker in college. His stock is starting to rise due to his hybrid versatility. He reminds me of the Patriots Adalius Thomas in that he will be a developmental player early (Special Teamer), but he has upside to be a pass rushing 3-4 OLB. It has been rumored that the Redskins, Steelers, and Patriots are interested in him as an outside linebacker.
- Nebraska OT Chris Patrick (6’4 ½, 305) – Another big smart athletic lineman from Nebraska. He started 14 of 16 games at left tackle last season for the Huskers. He left school for personal reasons and should garner a pick from a number of teams rumored to be interested in him including the Titans, Patriots, and Ravens. Has good feet and punch coming off the ball. Probably will be better suited to the RT position in the pros. Reminds me of Detroit Lions RT Jeff Backus.
Other Candidates include:
Morgan State DT Robert Armstrong
Florida State DT Clifton Dickson
Central Missouri DB RoShawn Marshall
Connecticut DB Donta’ Moore
Utah State DT Brian Soi
East Central (Okla.) OT Aaron Turner