2018 Supplemental Draft

Jets S Doug Middleton Done For Season

Jets safety Doug Middleton suffered a torn pectoral in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings and will miss the remainder of the season, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).

Middleton himself was already an injury replacement, as he was filling in for starter Marcus Maye after the latter suffered a broken thumb last week. Terrence Brooks took over at free safety against Minnesota after Middleton went down, and he’ll likely continue as a starter until Maye can return in a few weeks.

With Middleton and Maye both injured, Brooks and Jamal Adams are now the only healthy safeties on New York’s roster, meaning the club will almost certainly need to add another defensive back. The Jets have two safeties on their practice squad in 2018 supplemental draft pick Brandon Bryant and 2017 selection Jeremy Clark (who is technically a cornerback but dabbled at safety during training camp), while veteran Rontez Miles is eligible to return from the physically unable to perform list.

Middleton, 25, joined the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Appalachian State in 2016. After appearing in four games during his rookie season, Middleton missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury (coincidentally, another torn pectoral). This season, Middleton had made four starts and played on 46.3% of the Jets’ defensive snaps and 44.6% of the club’s special teams snaps, posting 22 tackles and three passes defensed along the way. He’ll be an exclusive rights free agent in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Brandon Bryant Goes Undrafted

Mississippi State defensive back Brandon Bryant was not selected in Wednesday’s supplemental draft. That means Bryant is now a free agent and eligible to sign with any club.

Prior to Wednesday, it was reported that Bryant was in the mix for one of the draft’s final rounds. However, all 32 teams passed on a chance to take him.

As expected, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal was the first player off the board when the Giants selected him in the third round. Then, in the sixth round, the Redskins took Virginia Tech’s Adonis Alexander. That leaves the other entrants – Bryant, Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu, and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter – eligible to sign with any team.

It’s not clear if Ugwoegbu or Carter will draw interest from clubs, but it’s likely that Bryant will sign somewhere in the coming days. Although Bryant did not meet expectations at his pro day, he has explosive athleticism that could translate into success at the next level.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Select Adonis Alexander

Adonis Alexander has an NFL home. With their pick in the sixth round, the Redskins selected the talented Virginia Tech cornerback.

Alexander’s length, balls skills, and arm size (over 32 inches) caught the attention of evaluators this year. Although he does not come with the same hype as Western Michigan’s Sam Beal, he has the potential to be a contributor in his own right.

At 6’3″ and 207 pounds, Alexander offers tremendous size. He also has experience in zone coverage schemes thanks to his time at Virginia Tech.

The Redskins project to use Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, and newcomer Orlando Scandrick as their top three cornerbacks. Alexander figures to slot somewhere behind them, provided that he makes the final cut. The Redskins also have 2017 third-round pick Fabian Moreau, seventh-round rookie Greg Stroman, and Joshua Holsey under contract.

As a freshman in 2015, Alexander impressed scouts as he intercepted four passes at the safety position. He followed up with a strong sophomore campaign, but he found himself at odds with coaches in 2017 and was hit with a two-game ban for not living up to the “expectations” of head coach Justin Fuente. He was also held back by a hamstring injury suffered in November.

Had he entered the 2019 NFL draft, Alexander would have had a shot at going in the first two rounds. The Redskins see Alexander as a high-value addition who is well worth the forfeiture of their sixth-round pick next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Select Sam Beal In Supplemental Draft

The Giants have landed the top talent in this year’s supplemental draft. With their pick in the third round, the Giants selected the former Western Michigan cornerback. 

Beal, a 6’1″ cornerback, ran a 4.47-second 40-yard-dash during a recent workout, cementing his status as the top draw in this year’s second-chance draft. Every NFL team watched him audition and it sounds like most evaluators came away impressed.

By selecting Beal, the Giants have fortified their cornerback group after releasing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Giants did not take a cornerback in the spring draft, but they found another way to add a young and talented prospect behind starters Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins. Meanwhile, the arrival of Beal will put pressure on the Giants’ other reserve corners, a group that includes free agent additions William Gay, Teddy Williams, and B.W. Webb plus holdover Donte Deayon.

Beal is the first player taken in the supplemental draft since the Rams chose lineman offensive lineman Isaiah Battle in 2015. There have only been 43 players selected in the supplemental draft since 1977, including two in the past six years. However, there have been some serious gems found in July, including Bernie Kosar (1985), Cris Carter (1987), Terrelle Pryor (2011) and Josh Gordon (2012).

Beal is the third player the Giants have ever taken in the supplemental draft. He joins quarterback Dave Brown (first round, 1992) and cornerback Tito Wooten (fourth round, 1994) in the record books.

Per the rules of the supplemental draft, the Giants will forfeit their third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. However, they have gained a player with significant upside who can help them immediately, rather than waiting for a rookie next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2018 NFL Supplemental Draft Primer

The 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft will begin – and end – shortly after 1pm ET/noon CT. The supplemental draft has been a dud in the last few years, but this year’s draft has some intrigue with three notable prospects up for grabs. Here’s a quick refresher on each player and a reminder on how the supplemental draft works.

The supplemental draft – also known as the league’s “second chance” draft – gives players an opportunity to enter the league in July, provided that they are at least three years removed from high school. Order is determined by a weighted lottery based on the April draft order and teams are given an opportunity to enter a bid before each round. If a team selects a player, they’ll sacrifice the corresponding pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

There are five entrants in total this year, with three names to know: cornerback Sam Beal (Western Michigan), cornerback Adonis Alexander (Virginia Tech), and defensive back Brandon Bryant (Mississippi State).

Beal is widely projected to go within the first three rounds, with some prognosticators estimating that he could go as high as the second round. Had he waited until next year to enter the league, scouts say he had a chance at becoming a first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

I think collectively, Beal is considered the top guy,” scouting analyst Eric Galko said recently. “Being a taller corner, being long, fluid and works well vertically, I think he’s a better athlete in terms of his hip fluidity and quick-twitch for a taller corner than most guys are. Usually, you’re sacrificing height for quickness but he does a great job of not being that way — he sinks really low. His ability to play as a press Cover 3 guy will help, and he can play underneath, he can play man coverage and he can work across the field. He plays like a 5’10” corner at 6’1″, that’s why teams are excited about him. I think he had a great shot for Round 1 [in the 2019 draft] if he came back to school.”

Alexander also offers promise as a big cornerback who can excel in zone coverage. He passed a drug test this week, which may help his case with teams after a 2016 arrest on a marijuana charge. Reportedly, Alexander has been passing drug tests regularly for the last eight months. The belief is that Alexander will be considered by clubs in rounds 5-7, and the majority of teams have sent scouts to check him out this summer.

Bryant is in a similar boat and his ability to play either cornerback or safety could boost his stock. At the same time, some evaluators have character concerns. Ultimately, Bryant could go in the later rounds, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him go undrafted either.

He’s a nightmare discipline-wise,” one AFC college director said. “Very unreliable, plays outside the scheme, not reliable in coverage, his eyes are all over the place. Just can’t trust him. He’s physical and quick and fast. Should he be draftable? Sure. But with all the other stuff …

Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter are also up for grabs, but neither player seems likely to be picked.

Virginia Tech’s Alexander Passes Drug Test

Good news for Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander. On the eve of the NFL’s supplemental draft, teams have received records of a clean drug test taken this week, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Alexander was arrested on a marijuana charge in 2016, but his camp has been working to prove that it was just an isolated incident. The defensive back has passed tests over the last eight months, which bodes well for his chances of being selected on Wednesday.

Alexander is one of three players believed to be contention to be drafted. Former Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal is reportedly the best of the bunch and could go as high as the second round. After that, Alexander could be in the mix in rounds 5-7, along with Mississippi State defensive back Brandon Bryant.

The supplemental draft – also known as the league’s “second chance” draft – gives players an opportunity to enter the league in July, provided that they are at least three years removed from high school. Order is determined by a weighted lottery based on the April draft order and teams are given an opportunity to enter a bid before each round. If a team selects a player, they’ll sacrifice the corresponding pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Supplemental Draft Notes: Beal, Bryant

The NFL’s supplemental draft will take place on Wednesday and the football world is buzzing about former Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal. One scouting analysts for ESPN believes that he is worthy of a second-round grade in terms of talent.

I think he’s going to be a starter within three years for whatever team drafts him,ESPN.com’s Steve Muench said, “and a really good starter at that. You have someone with that frame and those skills, and that’s what teams look for.”

Beal offers good size for the cornerback position at 6’1″ and ran a 4.47-second 40-yard-dash during a recent workout. He is widely projected to go within the first three rounds, becoming the first player taken in the supplemental draft in years.

Here’s more on Beal and the other entrants in the supplemental draft:

  • Mississippi State defensive back Brandon Bryant also has an opportunity to be drafted. Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com offers up a scouting report for the three-year starter, noting that he offers good size and serious athleticism. Although he is fluid and fast in coverage, Pauline dings him for his lack of physicality and sense of urgency. Pauline predicts that he’ll be taken in the sixth-round on Wednesday.
  • When it comes to Beal, Pauline lauds the Western Michigan product for his outstanding closing speed and explosive nature. On the flipside, he feels that Beal does not demonstrate great recognition in zone coverage and notes that his instincts are suspect. Beal – who was said to be in the first-round range for the 2019 draft – should go in the second or third round in Pauline’s estimation.
  • Nat Newell of the Indy Star wonders if the Colts could place a bid on Beal, Bryant, or Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander given their needs in the secondary. With size and the ability to excel in zone coverage, Alexander could be of particular interest to GM Chris Ballard.
  • In addition to the aforementioned three players, Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter are also eligible to be drafted. However, their odds of being selected are reportedly slim.

AFC Notes: Jets, Carpenter, Browns, Supplemental Draft, Titans, Colts, Nelson

James Carpenter has been the starting left guard for the Jets for the past three seasons, but 2018 is likely to be his last with the team, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Carpenter is heading into the final year of the four-year $19MM deal he signed with New York back in 2015. Carpenter’s play declined significantly last season, and as he ages Costello thinks the team will let him walk.

He’s been remarkably durable, never missing a game due to injury during his time with the Jets. Costello thinks the Jets will use the “boatload of salary cap space in 2019” that they’ll have to upgrade the offensive line and find Carpenter’s replacement. He thinks “revamping the offensive line” will be a “top priority” in next year’s free agency.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal took a look at this year’s Supplemental Draft and whether the Browns would make a move. He came away thinking that GM John Dorsey‘s “aggressive” approach may lead him to use a selection on one of the cornerbacks available in the draft despite the Browns’ recent upgrades to their secondary.
  • If an undrafted player makes the Titans, it’s likely to be a receiver according to Jim Wyatt of Titansonline.com. Due to uncertainty on the receiver depth chart behind Corey Davis, Wyatt thinks there could be a three way battle between undrafted receivers Jordan Veasy, Deontay Burnett, and Devin Ross for a roster spot.
  • Number six overall pick Quenton Nelson appears to be adjusting to the NFL quickly, and the Colts are taking notice. “His impeccable technique and ability to quickly pick up schemes turned the heads of many of his teammates and the coaching staff while working with the first unit throughout offseason workouts” writes Mike Wells of ESPN.

Extra Points: Titans, Mariota, Jets, Broncos

The Titans may landed the second-overall pick in the 2015 draft, but it sounds like the organization still drafted their desired prospect. Blake Beddingfield, the team’s former director of scouting, told Paul Kuharsky that preferring quarterback Marcus Mariota over top-overall pick Jameis Winston was “an easy choice at that time” (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com echoes that sentiment (via Twitter), saying the team’s infatuation with Mariota was why they refused to trade the pick.

Following a breakout campaign in 2016, Mariota took a bit of a step back in 2017. The 24-year-old ended up completing 62-percent of his passes for 3,232 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. Winston had the edge in numbers (63.8 completion percentage, 3,504 yards, 19 touchdowns, 11 interceptions), but his off-the-field conduct would seemingly give Mariota the edge when it comes to the duo’s long-term outlooks.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • If the Jets hope to compete for a playoff spot next season, the team will need rookie quarterback Sam Darnold to step up and contribute right away, writes ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. While head coach Todd Bowles favors experience, Darnold’s skills would surely boost the team’s ceiling. Cimini also points to wideout Robby Anderson, center Spencer Long, cornerback Trumaine Johnson, and defensive end Leonard Williams among those who will need to have standout seasons for a playoff-bound Jets squad.
  • Paxton Lynch has two more years left on his contract, and Mike Klis of 9News.com writes that the quarterback’s longterm outlook with the Broncos will depend on his performance next season. While the team is unlikely to pick up Lynch’s fifth-year option, Klis believes the team won’t end up dealing the former first-rounder. After all, Lynch would presumably have little trade value if he sits on the bench behind Case Keenum, and he’d likely be too valuable for the Broncos is he makes his way into the starting lineup.
  • Matt Miller of Bleacher Report hears that former Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal could end up being selected in the second or third round of the supplemental draft, with several AFC teams expressing interest (Twitter link). We heard earlier today that the highly-touted prospect was expected to be one of the two players selected (along with Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander) in the upcoming draft.

Albert Breer On NFL Supplemental Draft

This year’s supplemental draft figures to be the most exciting in years. Those who have been keeping up with Pro Football Rumors in recent weeks are already familiar with Sam Beal, the former Western Michigan cornerback who many say could have been a first-round pick in the 2019 draft. Besides Beal, there’s also former Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander to consider, a player with tremendous measurables and real NFL upside.

There are others in this year’s class, but Albert Breer of The MMQB hears that Beal and Alexander may wind up as the only players selected. That’s bad news for Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, who recently drew 40 scouts to his pro day.

He’s a nightmare discipline-wise,” one AFC college director said. “Very unreliable, plays outside the scheme, not reliable in coverage, his eyes are all over the place. Just can’t trust him. He’s physical and quick and fast. Should he be draftable? Sure. But with all the other stuff …

The odds seem even dimmer for Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter. Although he has some starting experience in college, Ugwoegbu has the size of the safety and clocked in at his pro day with the speed of a defensive tackle. Carter’s size is also working against him as evaluators feel he does not have the necessary bulk to break tackles and run inside at the pro level.

So, while Bryant, Ugwoegbu, and Carter may have a hard time convincing teams to forfeit a 2019 draft pick for them, it sounds like Beal and Alexander are very much on the radar. Beal may have some maturity issues, but that shouldn’t prevent him from finding an NFL home on July 11.

He’s the more talented cover guy [compared to Alexander],” said an AFC scouting director. “A pure cover guy, fits a lot of schemes. He’s a skinny dude, and even though he presses well, you look at his body, how well does he project? … He’s not a bad guy, just kind of a knucklehead. The kind who’ll wear the wrong color socks or miss curfew or have 25 parking tickets and not pay them off.”

Meanwhile, Breer hears that Alexander’s size could make him a fit for the Seahawks. His 40-yard-dash time at his pro day might not have helped him, as he clocked in at 4.50 seconds on one run and 4.60 on another.

If he’d run faster, I wouldn’t have been shocked to see him in the second or third round,” said an NFC exec. “I think the absolute highest he’d go now is third round. He’s so big and long.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.