Most years, the NFL’s Supplemental Draft comes and goes without a peep.
That could change when the league holds its annual event Wednesday afternoon as five players — including a talented pair of defensive backs — could be the first prospect(s) taken since 2015.
So what’s the supplemental draft?
It’s all in the name. The supplemental draft — which began in 1977 — is for players deemed eligible to play in the NFL but didn’t declare for the league’s traditional draft because of a change in status (disciplinary, academic issues, etc.) Players must file a petition to enter the supplemental draft. It is, of course, also a chance for teams to continue adding talent to their respective rosters with less than a month until training camp. Only two players have been taken in the supplemental draft since 2012, including Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon.
How does it work?
The league’s 32 teams are divided into three different buckets and each bucket has something of a weighted lottery to determine who picks first. So teams with the lowest win total — like the Browns — from the year before are given priority.
Bucket 1: Teams with six wins or less (the Browns fall into this group)
Bucket 2: Non-playoff teams with at least seven wins
Bucket 3: Playoff teams
When the draft kicks off Wednesday at 1 p.m. teams have 10 minutes to make a pick in the first round and the process repeats itself for each of the seven rounds. For example, if the Browns successfully bid on a player in the third round, it means they’ll forfeit a third-round pick in 2018 in exchange for said player. Because of their priority status in Bucket 1, they’ll win out
Who’s eligible in 2018?
CB Sam Beal, Western Michigan:
Beal has been described as the best player in the supplemental draft since Cleveland tabbed Gordon back in 2012. He had 19 pass breakups in 32 games for the Broncos.
CB Adonis Alexander, Virginia Tech:
Alexander entered the supplemental draft after he was declared academically ineligible for the 2018 season; was once considered a top-round talent after strong freshman season (four interceptions, 55 tackles in 2015) before he ran into academic and off-field issues.
DB Brandon Bryant, Mississippi State:
A three-year starter for the Bulldogs who finished with more than 150 tackles; withdrew from school after being held out of spring practices for academic reasons
RB Martayveus Carter, Grand Valley State:
Ran for a school-record 1,908 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore; entered the supplemental draft after being ruled ineligible for the 2018 college football season
LB Bright Ugwoegbu, Oregon State:
Collected over 100 tackles and six sacks in 20 starts at outside linebacker for the Beavers; entered the supplemental draft after being suspended indefinitely by the school
Notable past picks:
QB Bernie Kosar (1985): Former Browns starting quarterback
WR Cris Carter (1987): Former Ohio State standout turned Hall-of-Fame wide receiver
QB/WR Terrelle Pryor (2011): After making full-time switch to receiver, Pryor had career year with Browns in 2016, catching 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns
WR Josh Gordon (2012): Gordon earned his first and only Pro Bowl nod in 2013; returned from multiyear suspension late last season
Why does it matter for the Browns?
First-year general manager John Dorsey and a new-look front office overhauled Cleveland’s roster throughout the offseason and took particular aim at a underwhelming defensive secondary. Beal and Alexander — widely considered two players who could’ve been drafted this past spring — could make sense for a team that’s in the market for acquiring young talent to join up with cornerbacks Denzel Ward (the fourth-overall pick), T.J. Carrie, E.J. Gaines, Terrance Mitchell and Simeon Thomas.