The 2018 supplemental draft is starting next Wednesday, July 11th, so I’m here to mock it with some Weekend Content. If you’re not hip to how the supplemental draft works, it’s basically a blind auction where teams submit 2019 draft picks for the rights to each of the available prospects. The highest-valued pick wins. There’s more to the process than that, which you can find helpfully explained here.
Anyway, I’m trying my hand at a mock draft for the five prospects in this year’s supplemental draft. These guys are only available here for reasons that could tank their value in the regular draft process - ranging from academic woes to misfiled paperwork to failed drug tests and violations of nebulous team rules. So it’s hard to sell any of them as ready-made NFL products.
I considered which teams have multiple 2019 picks to spend as well as whether they adequately addressed their needs through last May’s draft or earlier in free agency. For added Weekend Content, I plugged in several high-profile trades involving 2019 picks-for-players, to help give context into what teams may give up for supplemental draft prospects. Let’s get into it.
Edge defender Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners. I’m not letting this go. The Saints invested two first round picks in adding Davenport, and I’m going to explore what it looks like now that they’ve gotten him. So that includes the 2019 first rounder they exchanged with the Green Bay Packers to move up for Davenport. Reports from minicamps suggested Davenport was looking the part of a high-upside talent with a lot of work ahead of him, despite a minor thumb injury that shouldn’t linger into training camp. That forfeiture plays into the theme of the supplemental draft while introducing a new wrinkle: which other players were picked up around the league via 2019 draft picks?
Beal likes being up in WRs faces - using those long arms to disrupt at the LOS pic.twitter.com/Se4i8uYuex— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) June 28, 2018
Cornerback Sam Beal, Western Michigan Broncos. Beal has gathered the most hype in the pre-supplementary draft process and seems to have the smallest collection of red flags; most criticism leveled against him has been focused on his weight, having measured in at just 178-pounds at his pro day. Team reps have spoken highly of Beal’s football I.Q. and believe he can quickly contribute despite having missed offseason installs. He’ll have to jump right into the thick of it in training camp. To that end, look for a team with multiple picks late in the second round and a vacancy at cornerback to target Beal early: I like the Kansas City Chiefs. They’ve lost a legit star in Marcus Peters, and will need more than a very good slot corner (Kendall Fuller) and an ousted member of a bad Oakland Raiders backfield (David Amerson) to make up for it.
6'2-6'3 length can go a long way from the trail position. Adonis Alexander is hard to drop in the bucket over. pic.twitter.com/xHmpxT9LFW— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) June 4, 2018
Cornerback Adonis Alexander, Virginia Tech Hokies. The New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl to head coach Bill Belichick’s hubris in not playing Malcolm Butler, who left for the Tennessee Titans in free agency. The Patriots figure to land compensatory picks for Butler and left tackle Nate Solder, who signed with the New York Giants. While they’ve drafted a slot specialist in Duke Dawson, they need someone like Alexander to help fill in along with projected starters Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty. Alexander has a reputation as a knucklehead and is entering the draft after not receiving academic approval to play for VT, but has enough tools to compete in the latest iteration of the Patriot Way.
Defensive tackle Danny Shelton, Cleveland Browns. The Patriots ceded one of their third round picks in 2019 so they could add one of the few good players left in Cleveland. Shelton hasn’t gotten after quarterbacks the way he was hyped coming out of college, but he’s consistently shown out as one of football’s best run-defenders. Shelton logged more stops at or behind the line of scrimmage (12) than any Saints defensive lineman (Cameron Jordan and David Onyemata tied with 10 each). He fills a huge need in the Pats’ interior rotation and could be a spiritual successor to Vince Wilfork.
Linebacker Reggie Reggie Ragland, Buffalo Bills. Kansas City shipped out a conditional fourth round pick in 2019 to save Ragland from Buffalo’s doomed Josh Allen experiment, and I imagine the former Alabama Crimson Tide star linebacker is happy about that. The Chiefs have siphoned a lot of talent out of their defense in recent years (including Peters, linebacker Derrick Johnson, pass rusher Tamba Hali, and nose tackle Dontari Poe) so they’ll need big things out of Ragland to help keep up the pace with an explosive offense led by promising quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Btw, supplemental draft safety Brandon Bryant can absolutely play. Supposed to be a great athlete. Might be a guy who is better as a nickel than he is in deep zone coverage pic.twitter.com/7lzlwn3Cho— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) June 15, 2018
Safety Brandon Bryant, Mississippi State Bulldogs. While he put on a solid pro day performance, Bryant has done little to clear up the off-field questions that helped push him into the supplemental draft process. Bryant was an on-again off-again starter in Stark Vegas, but his lack of onfield discipline and accountability combined with untimely injuries kept him from ever really showing out. He should still get drafted, but I’d be surprised if his name is called early on July 11th. It’ll take a team like the Atlanta Falcons with an entrenched system and starters to provide little opportunity for in-game screwups for Bryant to succeed, and I think head coach Dan Quinn could find a way to get the best out of Bryant.
Guard Laken Tomlinson, Detroit Lions. The San Francisco 49ers traded their 2019 pick for Tomlinson last August and this week signed him to a three-year contract extension that basically functions as a series of team options. Tomlinson has struggled with injuries and inconsistent play, appearing in just 47 of 64 possible regular games. He figures to start at left guard in the second year of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s regime as a blocker for ascendant quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Like the other trades and early-bird picks discussed earlier, I’m counting this to help shape a different perspective on the supplemental draft process.
Cornerback Johnson Bademosi, Detroit Lions. The Patriots traded last September to bring in Bademosi, who appeared in every game during their unsuccessful Super Bowl run. Bademosi made his biggest mark on special teams despite starting three games in place of injured free agent signee Stephon Gilmore. Bademosi played his way into a two-year contract with the Houston Texans, where he could find some action on the depth chart behind Kareem Jackson, Jonathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson, and Aaron Colvin.
Linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu, Oregon State Beavers. Successful defenses like the Minnesota Vikings avoid NFL-fringe athletes, and unfortunately Ugwoegbu fits that bill. By all accounts his pro day workouts went poorly after he weighed in at the size of a lightweight safety (6-foot-1, 205-pounds) and timed like a defensive lineman. Combine that with little production in college and you don’t see much to like here. Maybe some team does see potential in Ugwoegbu, but it would have to be someone used to zigging when the rest zag. Nobody makes questionable decisions like Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and the Browns have picks to spare on prospects like Ugwoegbu.
Running back Marty Carter, Grand Valley State Lakers. A surprise late-entry not announced until 10 days before the supplemental draft, Carter has shouldered the load in Grand Valley for two years but is another pro-hopeful after poor academic performance. He’s got some moves to his game and could find a role in the right situation, but it would take a team that hasn’t figured out its timeshare to make it work. The Indianapolis Colts are hoping one of two rookies (Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins) can show enough to start while free agent signee Robert Turbin waits out a P.E.D. suspension and sophomore Marlon Mack returns from shoulder surgery. They may as well throw someone like Carter into the mix.
So what do you think? Is the view worth the climb with any of the supplemental prospects in this year’s draft? Have teams justified the return on investments already made with 2019 draft capital? Are you not entertained?