HONOLULU, HI - JANUARY 29: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals shakes hands with Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburg Steelers during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 29, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
The NFL's Supplemental Draft has been in place since 1977, and not once have the Steelers used a future draft pick on a player for the current season.
That isn't to say they've never put in a pick for a player - each team puts in a bid for a player by submitting which round they'd draft the player. The system is weighted into groupings, and whichever team has the highest draft position and puts in a bid for the highest round gets the rights to that player. The pick is counted as that round's pick the following year.
The buzz last year surrounding former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was such that it was expected a team would spend a higher pick than had been used in recent memory. Pryor went in the third round, taken by Oakland. No player has been taken higher than the third round since Houston took RB Tony Holdings with a second round pick in 2003.
Obviously that worked out well for Houston, and it's a pretty good indication of why the Steelers don't participate in the Supplemental Draft.
Former Baylor WR Josh Gordon is the target of intrigue at this year's Supplemental Draft, taking place Thursday. He measured and weighed at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, and ran a 4.52 40-yard dash. Impressive numbers, certainly enough where even with his marijuana possession arrest after being found passed out in a Taco Bell drive-thrulane and subsequent team suspension would still merit a mid-round pick.
The Supplemental Draft route is a bit trickier, though. Teams have to worry about the salary cap. They've already allocated certain monies for the drafted players they acquired in April, and they've perhaps already spent big in free agency, or at least spent what they feel they want to spend.
Those issues paint the Supplemental Draft as something more of an impulse buy. At the time the full draft comes along, no player has declared for the Supplemental Draft, so teams proceed with taking the players who can be taken, without worrying about who they could get in July.
This says nothing of the reasons behind why the player is forced to go through the Supplemental Draft in the first place. In Morgan's case, he was booted from Baylor, and had transferred to Utah, but decided not even to bother playing there, and just make for the NFL.
You have to think those in charge of the ultimate team game may be leery of someone who gets kicked off one team, tells another he'll play for them and backs out of it. And to spend next year's pick on a player they already went through minicamp and OTAs without is a bit risky, to put it mildly.
The Steelers and six other teams - Arizona, St. Louis, Carolina, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Tennessee - have never used a supplemental pick. Of those other six teams,three of them played in different cities than where they currently are and the other two came into the NFL in 1995.
Even with all this, it's unlikely Morgan won't end up being chosen somewhere Thursday. Coaches can't teach 6-foot-4, 225 and 4.52. NFL.reporter Adam Caplan wrote 14 teams were in attendance at his workout Tuesday, and it's certainly plausible to think they'd invest a lower-end pick on a player with outstanding physical talents.
Granted, had he run a 4.4, there would be little to suggest some team wouldn't go into the third for him. A 4.52 is pretty solid for a 225-pound receiver, but with so many offseason plans already in place, the value of a supplemental selection is far lower than that of a player in the standard draft.
Essentially, the Steelers don't dip into the Supplemental Draft because they don't have to. Every team has holes they'd like addressed whenever they can, but shame on any team that feels any player who's become available between today and the standard draft will fill an immediate hole.
Making a bold prediction, the Steelers will not use a pick on Gordon Thursday. Their streak of consecutive seasons without using one will run to 35 years, and they'll remind people they used a sixth-round pick in the standard draft on team MVP Antonio Brown.