The NFL Supplemental Draft will take place this July 11. This event is in place primarily for underclassmen who did not submit their eligibility in time for the standard league draft, or more often for players who have been ruled ineligible for their upcoming collegiate season. Rarely are there many quality players available in this event, and oftentimes there isn't a player selected at all. The last player to be selected in the supplemental draft was offensive lineman Isaiah Battle, drafted in 2015 by the St. Louis Rams. Since it's inception in 1977, there have been just 43 players selected, and only 12 picked since 2000. The process itself is set up more like an auction or a raffle than a draft, but the order of teams is based off of previous year's record, and there are selection rounds. If a team wants a particular player, they place a "bid" for that player. Then, if no team with a higher spot bids on that player, then he is awarded to the team with the highest slot that placed the bid. In turn, the team that gets that player then forfeits the regular draft pick in the next NFL draft of the round that the supplemental player that was selected. The New Orleans Saints have selected one player throughout the entire history of the supplemental draft, obtaining quarterback Dave Wilson out of Illinois in 1981. Wilson would have a 7-yr. career, all with the Saints, starting 31 games with a 12-19 record while throwing 36 touchdown passes and 55 interceptions. This year, there are three uniquely talented defensive players who will be available for the supplemental draft, an unusually high number.
Adonis Alexander, CB
Alexander may be the highest graded prospect of any of the three available. He held an individual workout last week that was attended by 26 NFL teams, and privately met with four teams, including the Saints. John Sigler, of the Canal Street Chronicles, wrote about Alexander's workout here
Alexander led the Hokies with 4 interceptions in 2015, adding 2 more in 2016 and 1 last year. He possesses good size (6'2, 195-lbs.) and explosive leaping ability. Although he didn't run well at his workout, Alexander has good enough straight line speed to keep up with most wideouts. He has solid competitive ball skills, breaking up 17 passes during his college career, and can be effective in either man coverage or off the ball. Alexander is solid in run support as well, and has the tackling skills to possibly even project to safety. His biggest concern on the field is his short area quickness and change of direction ability. Smaller/quicker receivers have given him fits at times, and he doesn't have great recovery speed once beaten. An even bigger concern however, is Alexander's off-field issues. He was recently ruled academically ineligible for the 2018 season, forcing him to apply for the supplemental draft. Perhaps more concerning than that are numerous run-ins over team rules and legal incidents, causing him to be suspended twice from the Hokies. Alexander was thought to be a potential late-1st or 2nd round pick entering the 2018 collegiate season, but character concerns will likely prevent any team from investing much to get him.
Sam Beal, CB
Beal is a prototypical man-to-man coverage corner, capable of playing either slot or outside positions. He actually came to Western Michigan as a wide receiver, but moved to cornerback in his sophomore year of 2016, and was second on the team in passes defensed. He led the Broncos in pass breakups during his junior season a year ago, and also intercepted two passes. He was a track star in high school, and has the raw speed to stay step for step with almost any wideout. Beal has decent size (6'1, 185-lbs.), a long reach to disrupt the opposing receiver, and competes hard for the ball. He is a fluid athlete as well, with excellent change of direction. He is best utilized in press coverage, mirrors his receiver effectively, and has good physicality at the line of scrimmage. Beal is still very inexperienced as a defender, and it often shows in zone or coverage off the ball. Although a willing tackler, he tends to take bad angles in pursuit. He was forced to declare for the supplemental draft when ruled academically ineligible for the upcoming collegiate season. Beal looks to be a project with good upside, and could have worked his way into the middle of the 1st round of the 2019 draft with a solid season at Western Michigan.
Brandon Bryant, S
Bryant was one of the most athletic safeties in the nation on a very good Mississippi State defense. A highly touted recruit out of high school, he led the Bulldogs with 3 interceptions as a freshman in 2015, including a touchdown return. He would only have two interceptions over his next two seasons, but was a key part of the Mississippi State defense against both the pass and run. Bryant has explosive acceleration, solid natural cover skills, and the strength to play down in the box against the run. He has the measurables of a top caliber defensive back, but many scouts have questioned his maturity and instincts. He was dismissed from Mississippi State early this spring for academic reasons, and elected to file for the NFL rather than transfer. A number of scouts were already hesitant about his football instincts entering the 2018 college season, and he had regressed during his time with the Bulldogs. Despite Bryant's physical attributes, he was often victimized in coverage, and showed poor anticipation and play diagnosis. He had been considered a developmental prospect for next year's NFL draft entering the college season.
It seems highly unlikely that New Orleans will give up a high selection to get any of these players, like they did in 1981 to get Dave Wilson. The Saints are already currently without a first round draft choice next spring, having traded it to the Green Bay Packers to draft Marcus Davenport with 14th overall selection this year. The last player selected in the supplemental draft to have significant success was wide receiver Josh Gordon, obtained in 2012 by the Cleveland Browns with a second round pick. The immensely talented Gordon has been brilliant when he's played, but has had a litany of difficulties off the field. He has been suspended multiple times by the league, and played in just 10 of 64 games since 2014 because of his issues. Quarterback, now wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor was selected by the Oakland Raiders in 2011 and has had some success since moving to wideout. The best success story from a supplemental draft pick is Chris Carter, who would go on to a Hall of Fame career at wide receiver after being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1987. Quarterback Bernie Kosar (Browns, 1985), running back Bobby Humphrey (Broncos, 1989), receiver Rob Moore (Jets, 1990), along with linebackers Brian Bosworth (Seahawks, 1987) and Ahmad Brooks (Packers, 2006) have had some success as supplemental selections throughout the league's history as well. The New Orleans Saints have a young, but talented secondary that already has solid depth that has been built over the last two years. While it would be a surprise if the Saints have any activity in next month's supplemental draft, the talent of the players available may be worth the risk of investing a future mid-round selection should any of the three still be available.
In the unlikely event that the Saints make a move in the supplemental draft, which of these players do you think they should target?
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