Each year, the NFL holds a supplemental draft for college players who have lost eligibility because of failed drug tests, suspensions for violating team rules, undisclosed reasons from universities or Colleges, academic failures or some major off-field issues that are red flags to several NFL teams – but not all.
The only real difference between a few of these players drafted in the spring, as opposed to the summer, is production and an ability to maintain eligibility for three or four years despite academic and off-field issues. Below are six key players who will wait for their numbers to be called during this draft process, which, unlike the annual spring spectacle in New York, will take but several minutes to complete.
DE James Boyd, UNLV: Despite good size, athletic ability and length, Boyd has limited playing time and overall production. He has played in multiple programs (USC, West LA JC, UNLV). A high school recruiting service source says he is slightly immature and never lived up to the hype, despite his athletic ability, to excel at the college level as a football and basketball player. Non-draftable
DT Nate Holloway, UNLV: Large body player (363 pounds) with inconsistent motor on film, not to mention an academic failure in the classroom. He had an issue and left the Rebels. According to a college source, Holloway has the size you’re looking for, but his motor idles too often; lacks the desire and passion to be great. He will struggle at the next level in all categories. Non-draftable
DE Toby Jackson, Central Florida: Great combination of size (6-4, 261), length and speed, but has some ankle stiffness in COD (change of direction). Most production came from Navarro JC. He has natural pass rush skills with the speed to beat upfield shoulder; burst and pursuit to quarterback drop zone. Flashed UOH (use of hands) to slap and go, plus very effective hit-and-spin move with lateral chase-and-pursuit. Good FBI (football instincts) with eyes to sift through traffic. Adequate at POA (point of attack) vs. run despite shed-and-pursuit, and flashed ability to keep outside arm free and stretch plays to sideline. Jackson is not a sure tackler, but flashed explosive run through collisions. This player has some positional attributes and the upside to develop at the next level; athletic enough to be a core special teamer right away. Had multiple college stops, with academic failure being a major issue. Sixth-seventh round
WR DeWayne Peace, Houston: Receiver who needs work vs. bump and press despite good shake to elude. Is competitive and tough receiver to catch in a crowd. Peace has soft hands, but cradles and bodies balls with defenders close. Has limited route tree (stop, comeback, slant, fade, bubble screen), but is efficient with skills to build on (body balance, control). This player has the skill set to develop at the next level. A short-stepper who has run-after-catch skills and strength to break tackles. Team suspension has several teams wondering the direction to take on this young receiver, despite skills and positional attributes that will develop further. Seventh round/non-draftable
WR O.J. Ross, Purdue: This player is the best combination return man in the supplemental draft. League sources tell me multiple suspensions and the violation of team rules derailed what should have been a very promising career with the Boilermakers, and when I watch tape he possesses some very special traits for the next level of competition. Very good athletic ability, speed and quickness. Ross has good run-after-catch skills with burst, acceleration and gear change. Is elusive in tight and open space, with the ability to string together multiple moves on a single reception; a slight short-stepper who can cover a lot of ground quickly. Soft hands with natural receiving skills. This player’s maturity is a huge issue, but it only takes one team to pull the trigger on this talented player despite limited career production. Fourth-sixth round
DB Damond Smith, South Alabama: Another player with multiple college stops, suspensions and a rumored failed drug test – plus a well-documented fight with a teammate on the field. When watching tape, you see the competitiveness and toughness when aligned at corner or safety; challenges receivers, but will need to develop more consistent press technique and UOH (use of hands). Nice foot quickness with stem and press, keeping shoulders square to the LOS (line of scrimmage). Zone player with good FBI (football instincts) and awareness to stick and drive downhill, with passes defended. Good tackler in both open field and tight space. Will contribute as a core special teams player. A red light for most teams, but a flashing yellow for others. Fifth-seventh round
2013 Supplemental Draft Order
Kansas City Chiefs
New York Jets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints
San Diego Chargers
St. Louis Rams
New York Giants
Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots
Like the yearly draft held in April, all 32 teams are allowed one pick in each of the seven rounds. Unlike the spring draft, there is no primetime television. The NFL commissioner does not pass out his man-hug greetings, and there are no photo sessions on stage.
As for teams not interested in participating in the supplemental draft, they call the league office and relay to the player personnel department that they will not participate in the proceedings. For those teams planning on participating, they communicate with the league office – via email – about choosing to “pass” (to keep the draft moving) or moving forward with their selection of a player. When an organization makes a pick, it forfeits its same-round selection in the next NFL draft.
With the dust still thick and flying in the wake of the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation will teams look at these problem children and those in the 2014 draft in a different light, time will tell.
The NFL supplemental draft begins today at 12 p.m.