The NFL will hold their 41st annual supplemental draft on July 11 at 1 p.m. ET and for the first time in three years, there are actually some prospects who might get selected. Isaiah Battle was the last player to be picked in a supplemental draft when the St. Louis Rams gave up a fifth-round draft choice for him in 2015 and only 43 players have ever been taken dating back to 1977.
Open to players who did not declare for the main draft in April, but are still three years removed from high school, supplemental draft applicants are traditionally underclassmen who have been ruled ineligible for the upcoming college season, often due to academic or disciplinary reasons.
While it is not broadcast publicly, the teams connect with the league office online to make their selections and follow a prearranged draft order. Teams are split into three groups and the order within each group is determined by a weighted lottery system. Ultimately, it will closely follow the order of April’s draft and Pittsburgh are sure to be picking towards the end of each round.
Should the Steelers be interested in taking one of the names available, they simply need to enter a bid for the player they want and hope they are the first team in that round to choose that prospect. Any pick they make would require them to give up the corresponding selection in the 2019 NFL draft.
Although Pittsburgh has yet to select a player in any supplemental draft, they gave Terrelle Pryor some serious consideration in 2011 and may have their eye on a few prospects from the 2018 class. This year there are five names eligible to be selected as there is a good chance that at least two of them will be taken on Wednesday.
Top of the list for most teams is Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal. Rated by some draft experts as a possible second-round talent or better, Beal looks almost certain to be the first off the board. An impressive showing at his pro day will have done little to put teams off either.
One team told me they viewed Beal as 2nd-round pick had he been in 2018 draft, but that round likely to be lower in sup draft. Keep eye on teams with extra picks in Rounds 3-4 next year, including Browns (Round 3) and Bills (4). https://t.co/9OOBymQvDE— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) June 28, 2018
If Beal does go early, that could easily open the door for another team to make a move for Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander. Like Beal, Alexander was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for academic reason, but he also has some disciplinary issues that might scare some teams off, including a charge for possession of marijuana. However, as a 6-foot-2 cornerback, many teams will be able to look past his transgressions if they believe he has the talent to play in the NFL. Matt Barrows of the San Francisco Bee reported 26 teams were on hand for his pro day and there can be little doubt there is plenty of interest in him around the league.
Official pro day workout results yesterday for @VT_Football CB Adonis Alexander:— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) June 21, 2018
Ht/wt: 6-2 1/4, 194
40: 4.62/4.63 (indoors/field turf)
Redskins DB coach Torrian Gray ran drills. Alexander had good workout.
Former Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant might be less likely to be selected than the aforementioned names, but he has already drawn the attention of the Steelers. Pittsburgh was one of the 14 teams on hand for his pro day and Bryant has an outside chance of being selected in the later rounds. Considered to be somewhat undersized for the position at 5-foot-11, Bryant should have impressed the scouts with his athleticism and speed, but will have questions to answer about his maturity and an arrest for drink-driving in January 2017.
Official pro day results for CB Brandon Bryant (supplemental draft date July 11):— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) June 25, 2018
Arms: 32 7/8
Hands: 9 3/8
40: 4.45/4.52 (field turf)
*11 teams attended https://t.co/xPGt8iGxBX
Rounding out the draft class are Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugweogbu and Grand Valley State running back Marty Carter. After Ugweogbu was indefinitely suspended from college for undisclosed reasons, there are sure to be teams wary about taking a linebacker with off-field issues who is 6-foot-1, weighs only 205 pounds and ran a 4.95 40 at a pro day attended by six teams.
Carter did not hold a pro day, preferring to let his game film speak for itself instead. At 6-foot and 200-pounds, Carter was a two time first team All-GLIAC running back and rushed for 2,797 yards on 391 carries as well as recording 19 receptions for 125 yards and 28 touchdowns in two seasons at Grand Valley State. While neither Carter or Ugweogbu are expected to be selected on Wednesday, both have a chance of making an NFL roster before training camp begins as undrafted free agents.
Two players have not been taken in the same supplemental draft since 2010 and you have to go all the way back to 1989 to find the last time three or more prospect were drafted in the same year, and although the 1989 record looks safe, that 2010 milestone could well be equalled in 2018.