2023 Supplemental Draft

No Players Selected In Supplemental Draft

The NFL’s supplemental draft took place on Tuesday, ending a three-year absence of the event. As many expected, no teams took the opportunity to make an addition to their rosters, however.

Neither Malachi Wideman nor Milton Wright were drafted, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). As a result, both wideouts are now unrestricted free agents, as is the case with players who are not selected in the spring entry draft.

The announcement of the supplemental draft’s return came roughly one month ago, amidst little fanfare. The 2023 edition marked the first since 2019, and instances of notable players being selected have generally been few and far between. Wideman held a Pro Day in an attempt to garner interest from NFL teams, but that effort was not sufficient to earn him a selection today.

Teams acquire players in supplemental drafts by bidding on them; succesful bids cost them a selection in the equivalent round of the subsequent entry draft. Both Wideman and Wright applied for eligibility for the supplemental draft after being deemed academically ineligible for the 2022 college season. That missed time cost them the opportunity to take part in April’s draft, though today’s news demonstrates it was unlikely they would have been selected at that point.

It will be interesting to monitor how much interest either player receives as a free agent with teams not willing to spend draft capital to acquire them. A deal in time for training camp could allow them the opportunity to at least compete for a practice squad role. Failing that, the XFL and USFL have demonstrated in recent years an ability to give players a pathway back to the NFL via impressive play during the spring.

Between 2010 and 2019, a total of eight players were selected in supplemental drafts. That list includes the likes of quarterback Terrelle Pryor and receiver Josh Gordon, along with current Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson. Further additions to the summer draft alumni will have to wait until at least next year, however.

Two Players Granted Eligibility For Supplemental Draft

On July 11, the NFL will hold its first supplemental draft since 2019, and we learned today that two players have been granted eligibility for the event. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), Jackson State wide receiver Malachi Wideman and Purdue wideout Milton Wright were granted eligibility for next week’s draft.

Both Wideman and Wright were deemed academically ineligible for the 2022 season and lost 2023 NFL Draft eligibility. The two receivers are the only players who can be selected during the 2023 NFL Supplemental Draft.

Wideman is a former four-star recruit who started his college career at Tennessee. He later joined Deion Sanders‘ Jackson State squad and proceeded to haul in 34 receptions for 540 yards and 12 touchdowns during the 2021 campaign. Those 12 touchdowns ultimately paced the SWAC during the 2021 season. Wideman will audition himself to teams during a Pro Day this Saturday (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of KRPC2).

Wright left Purdue last May after being ruled academically ineligible for the 2022 college football season. When we last saw him in 2021, he hauled in 57 catches for 732 yards and seven touchdowns for the Boilermakers. He finished his college career with 99 catches in 27 games.

Any team that selects a player during the draft will have to sacrifice the corresponding round’s pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Between 2010 and 2019, there were eight players selected via the supplemental draft, highlighted by quarterback Terrelle Pryor (third round to the Raiders in 2011) and wide receiver Josh Gordon (second round to the Browns in 2012). There have been seven wideouts selected during the draft since its inception in 1977; besides Gordon, the draft has also produced Pro Bowl WR Rob Moore and Hall of Fame WR Cris Carter.

WR Notes: Harrison, Parker, Wideman

Plenty of time remains until the 2024 NFL draft will become an area of serious concern around the league, but a few figures can comfortably be considered first-round locks. One of those is Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who is in line for a repeat of his hugely productive 2022 season this fall.

The son of Colts Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, the 6-3, 202-pounder lit up the statsheet last campaign. Harrison recorded 77 catches for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he is expected to follow that up in 2023 after the departure of Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Other pass-catchers will be worth watching for the Buckeyes (including Emeka Egbuka), but Harrison will enter the season as the top-ranked wideout in the ’24 draft class.

In fact, he could find himself in contention for the No. 1 overall spot, according to at least one NFL general manager. The unnamed exec said, via ESPN’s Matt Miller“We haven’t had a wide receiver drafted first overall since Keyshawn [Johnson], but Harrison could push that – even in a draft with Caleb Williams.”

The presence of not only Williams but also a group of signal-callers including UNC’s Drake Maye in this class would make it surprising for Harrison to hear his name called first at this point. His substantial potential will nevertheless make him a name to watch as the season takes shape.

Here are some other receiver-related notes:

  • The Patriots recently retained DeVante Parker on a three-year extension worth up to $33MM. $14MM in guarantees is reportedly included in the deal, but its base value this year ($1.22MM) and next ($3.3MM) leaves most of his compensation set to be earned via incentives, as detailed (on Twitter) by Henry McKenna of Fox Sports and corroborated by ESPN’s Mike Reiss. The pact’s incentives are tied to playing time, reception and yardage totals and All-Pro honors, which comes as little surprise given the modest statline Parker put up (31-539-3) in his debut Patriots campaign. Reiss notes that more than half of the value of the contract will be tied to incentives, making the former Dolphins’ performance a key storyline to follow moving forward.
  • The NFL will conduct a supplemental draft for the first time since 2019, and a pair of receivers are known to have been granted eligibility for selection. One of them – Malachi Wideman – will audition himself to teams during a Pro Day this Saturday (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of KRPC2). Wideman had a productive stint with Jackson State, which, coupled with an impressive showing on the weekend, could put him on the radar of being selected. The supplemental draft will take place on July 11, and teams will have the opportunity to acquire Wideman, Milton Wright and any other eligible players at the expense of 2024 entry draft capital.

WR Malachi Wideman Granted Supplemental Draft Eligibility

When it was learned the NFL would bring back the supplemental draft in 2023, only one player was known to be eligible for the summer event. That total has now doubled.

Wideout Malachi Wideman has been deemed eligible for the supplemental draft, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 (Twitter link). Wideman joins fellow receiver Milton Wright as players available to be selected on July 11 when the league holds its first edition of the summer draft since 2019. College alums are required to apply to the NFL for eligibility, as those who take the supplemental path do so after losing eligibility for the entry draft in April.

Wideman was a four-star recruit after a productive high school career in both football and basketball. He joined Tennessee in June of 2020, but after making just one appearance he transferred to Jackson State the following year. Doing so allowed him to play under head coach Deion Sanders and put together a strong season. Wideman posted 12 touchdowns that year, demonstrating his ability as a red zone threat in particular.

He was deemed ineligible to play last season, however, which left him on the sidelines in 2022 and required to him to go through the approval process for the upcoming supplemental draft. Wideman’s limited playing time at the college level could give NFL teams pause, though his pedigree coming out of high school along with his size (6-4, 200 pounds) and production in his one full campaign could present an intriguing option.

The most recent receiver selected in the supplemental draft was Josh Gordon. The Browns used a second-round pick on him in 2012, a move which appeared to pay signficant dividends early in his career. Things have not gone as planned since, then, of course, though there are other signficant examples of wideouts joining the NFL via the supplemental route (including Cris Carter and Rob Moore). Wright and Wideman will look to join their ranks next month.

NFL To Hold Supplemental Draft In 2023

For the first time since 2019, NFL teams will be able to add rookies who were not selected in the April draft or signed as undrafted free agents. A supplemental draft will take place this summer, as first reported by Dane Brugler of The Athletic and confirmed (on Twitter) by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The latest edition of the supplemental draft will take place on July 11, giving the league a event to prepare for prior to the start of training camps later that month. The summer event provides an opportunity to join the NFL for players who are deemed ineligible for the regular entry draft (and thus to sign as UDFAs), and it has provided teams a number of high-profile additions over the course of its history.

Cancellations over the past three years have continued a stretch of relative irrelevancy for the supplemental draft, however. Editions have gone by without a single player being selected, and the recent past has seen a limited number of impact players involved. Still, the list of supplemental draft alums includes the likes of Terrelle Pryor and Josh Gordon in 2011 and 2012 and, less recently, Bernie Kosar, Cris Carter, Bobby Humphrey, Rob Moore and Jamal Williams. 

The Cardinals added safety Jalen Thompson in the 2019 supplemental draft, a decision which has proven to be fruitful. Thompson has logged 42 starts across his 54 games in Arizona, and he inked a three-year extension last offseason. That deal may provide incentive for teams around the league to pursue eligible players in this year’s edition of the summer draft. Using a supplemental draft pick in 2023 will cause teams to lose a selection in the equivalent round of the 2024 entry draft.

Players must apply to the NFL to achieve eligibility. The only one who has been approved in that regard so far is former Purdue receiver Milton Wright. The 6-3, 195-pounder registered 1,325 yards and 10 touchdowns on 99 receptions with the Boilermakers between 2019 and 2021. As details on the 2023 edition of the second-tier draft emerge, it will be worth watching to see how many other players become eligible and which ones receive attention from NFL teams.