If the NFL Draft is the crapshoot many analysts make it out to be, then the supplemental draft must be Keno - the low-probability, sucker bet that a team takes because its just jonesing to gamble during lunch. The special, summertime draft is set up for players who did not declare for the previous spring's draft, but have since had some factor - grades, NCAA violations, legal issues - impact their remaining college eligibility.
Currently, the supplemental daft is conducted over email. Teams with six or fewer wins get first crack at draftees, non-playoff teams are next, and then the playoff teams get their chance. If a franchise wants a particular player, the team brass bids a pick from the next regular draft (i.e. a team using a pick in this supplemental draft would be sacrificing the corresponding pick in the 2017 NFL Draft), and the highest bid wins.
NFL teams have selected just three players in the last five supplemental drafts. In 2011, the Raiders used a third round pick on Terrelle Pryor, and the former Buckeye QB went on to start ten games in 2012-2013. He's since bounced around and is currently trying his hand at receiver for Cleveland. In 2012, the Browns spent a second round pick on Josh Gordon, and his once promising career has been stalled by multiple drug suspensions and legal issues. After two years without a player selection, the Rams nabbed offensive lineman Isaiah Battle with a fifth round pick last July, cut him two months later, then signed him to the practice squad. He was added to the active roster in November after two other linemen were shelved with injuries.
This year's list of supplemental draft hopefuls doesn't include a talent on the level of Pryor, Gordon or Battle, and none are expected to be drafted this week. But this crop does include some interesting characters, and at least three prospects who are drawing legitimate NFL interest. Here's a look at the six players eligible for Thursday's auction:
Tee Shepard CB Ole Miss 6'1" 195
Career: 5 games 1 solo TKL 1 PBU
2015 Stats: 2 TKL (1 solo) 1 PBU
Despite transferring high schools and sitting out his entire senior season, Shepard was a four-star recruit in 2012. He originally signed on to play at Notre Dame, but left the program in March 2012 due to what his father described only as "health issues," though some speculation emerged that Shepard may have been having academic problems. After sitting out the 2012 season, he spent one year at Holmes Community College in Mississippi, verbally committed to Mississippi State for 2014, then ultimately enrolled at Ole Miss instead.
That summer Shepard appeared poised for a major role with the Rebels, but suffered a torn ligament in one of his toes, and wound up missing the entire 2014 season. Early last October, he announced that he was giving up football, but weeks later voiced his displeasure with Ole Miss coaches in a direct message on Twitter, implying that he wasn't being given playing time due to his lifelong hearing impairment.
Rebels head coach Hue Freeze seemed to confirm that this was a problem when he said, "If there is any short motion or shift, he has to look back to see it. And when you turn around, all of a sudden, the ball is snapped. So that has been an issue for us. While all of us hate that, there is part of that to it. It has nothing to do with his physical skills." Shepard was apparently all set to transfer to Miami, Ohio to finish his college career, but once again changed his mind. Instead, he has now opted to turn pro, having played just five games at the FBS level since leaving high school.
Rashaun Simonise WR Calgary 6'5" 201
Career: Not Available
2015 Stats: 51 REC 1079 YDS 21.2 AVG 11 TD
After being declared academically ineligible to play next season at Calgary, Simonise signed with the Chicago Eagles of the fledgling Champions Indoor Football League, and appeared in five games. He went on to practice with the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League before gaining eligibility for the supplemental draft. Simonise has been described as a "man amongst boys" at the Canadian college level, earning First Team All-Canadian honors last season, and he may have performed well enough at his pro day to receive late round consideration.
Rashaun Simonise pro day results: 4.71 40-yard dash against wind. 4.52 with wind. 35-inch vert. 10.3 broad jump. 6-foot-5, 201 pounds.— Scott Mitchell (@ScottMitchellPM) July 12, 2016
Six NFL teams, including the Cardinals, attended Simonise's pro day in Calgary, and some hand times had the lanky receiver in the 4.40 range. Though still unlikely to be drafted, he's probably the most intriguing talent in this year's crop of supplemental draft hopefuls.
Jalen Overstreet RB Sam Houston State 6'1" 212
Career: 39 games 1653 YDS 5.9 AVG 16 TD rushing, 20 REC 194 YDS 9.7 AVG receiving, 1 passing TD
2015 Stats: 821 YDS 5.3 AVG 7 TD rushing, 10 REC 66 YDS 6.6 AVG receiving, 1/1 25 YDS 1 TD passing
A three-star in-state recruit, Overstreet originally attended Texas, but was dismissed by Longhorns coach Charlie Strong after repeated violations of team rules. Despite a change of scenery at Sam Houston State, the troubled running back could never seem to keep his name out of the local police blotter. Overstreet was suspended for one game last November after being charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, he was charged with theft in March after allegedly stealing an iPad from an apartment complex, and he was indicted in May on a felony charge of credit card abuse, after allegedly using a stolen card several times. The credit card charge was dropped Tuesday, just in the nick of time for this week's draft.
With the supplemental draft days away, worth noting: Sam Houston St. RB Jalen Overstreet's felony charge on credit card abuse was dropped.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 12, 2016
Even without the a potential felony hanging over his head, it's hard to imagine that Overstreet's on-field performances have been worth enough to outweigh his worrisome off-the-field history. His chances of being drafted Thursday are slim.
Ra'Zahn Howard DT Purdue 6'3" 325
Career: 29 games 24 solo TKL 3.5 TFL 3 SCK 1 FF 4 PBU
2015 Stats: 23 TKL (11 solo) 1.5 TFL 1 SCK 1 QBH 1 PBU
A 2013 two-star recruit, Howard has shown flashes of skill and athleticism, but was never able to translate that into production in the backfield. After three relatively quiet seasons, he had been suspended in January, then missed spring practices with what he called an "academic issue." However, police records indicate that the big lineman was arrested for public intoxication in January, and then for leaving the scene of an accident in April. Initially, Howard indicated that he would transfer for his senior season, but he later opted to enter the Supplemental Draft.
Cameron Walton DE Concordia College, Alabama 6'4" 225 (?)
Career: Not Available
2015 Stats: Not Available
Walton originally attended Eastern Arizona College before moving on to Concordia after the 2014 season. He did not have the credit hours necessary to transfer when Concordia shut down its football program this past year, so Walton is now attempting to make the jump from the junior college ranks, straight to the NFL. He recorded 60 tackles in 11 games at EAC in 2014, and had an estimated 20 sacks last season. The fact that official statistics are so hard to come by are just one indication of what an unknown quantity Walton really is at this point.
Eddie D'Antuono LS Virginia Tech 6'7" 267
Career: 36 games 3 solo TKL
2015 Stats: 1 TKL
After walking on and redshirting in 2012, D'Antuono served as the Hokies' starting long snapper for the past three seasons.