Just when you thought the NBA and NHL drafts had ended the 2013 draft season, the NFL's supplemental draft will pull us back into the vortex Thursday, when all 32 teams will have a shot at a new player pool.
Luckily, you'll only have six players to fill out on your supplemental mock draft.
Filled with players who did not do their paperwork for April on time or guys who have exhausted their collegiate options, the supplemental draft usually bears little fruit for NFL teams. Since the inaugural supplemental draft, there have only been 43 players taken—most of whom have the international fame of the seventh runner-up of The X Factor.
However, the supplemental draft is also the place where Bernie Kosar, Brian Bosworth and Cris Carter began their NFL journeys.
The past two years have also seen some pretty notable faces come off the board early. Last year, the Cleveland Browns scooped up former Baylor receiver Josh Gordon, who promptly went on to have 805 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. The Oakland Raiders, however, likely aren't as thrilled with their decision to take Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft, but the raw signal-caller could get chance to shine in 2013 if the Matt Flynn era doesn't work out.
Teams who use a supplemental pick have to relinquish that corresponding selection a year later in the regular NFL draft, which means teams are historically stingy when taking a risk here. Most coaches have gotten a good feel for their rookie crop already during minicamps and OTAs, and each of the players selected in the supplemental draft will be far behind should they get taken.
That said, there are a couple guys who could hear their name called on Thursday, and here is a look at each player who declared himself eligible for the 2013 NFL Supplemental draft.
When: Thursday, July 11 at 1 p.m. ET
Draft Process: Carried out by email among teams
List of Eligible Prospects
DE James Boyd, UNLV
Height/Weight: 6'5", 255 pounds
Highly sought after following a sterling high school career, James Boyd was supposed to be the next in a long line of USC Trojans standouts. He was considered a versatile athlete, with the ability to play on both sides of the ball—even as a quarterback and tight end offensively.
But it was defensively where Boyd truly stood out, playing in two games for the Trojans at defensive end as a freshman. He was even supposed to walk on to the USC basketball team, which proved he had a dual-sport athleticism that projected well going forward.
It never worked out. Boyd left USC in March of 2011 after being unable to get along with head coach Lane Kiffin, and he later transferred to West Los Angeles City College, where he sat out the 2011 season. Given the promise that he would get a shot at quarterback, Boyd then transferred to UNLV and attempted to give Division I another shot.
Again, though, the defensive side of the ball came beckoning. While still extremely raw at defensive end—mostly due to all of his position switches—Boyd showed flashes of brilliant play for UNLV last season. He recorded 21 tackles and 2.5 sacks, including a two-sack performance against Northern Arizona in the Rebels' second game. As the season progressed, though, he moved to the back of the UNLV defensive end rotation, as injuries and sporadic effectiveness hurt his playing time.
While Boyd boasts an intriguing combination of size and athleticism, it will be an uphill battle to see him get drafted. His rawness at defensive end was on display throughout the 2012 campaign, and falling out of favor at UNLV doesn't speak well to his potential at the position. Teams are historically stingy with these picks, so a team would have to come away impressed to even use a seventh-round selection on him.
Don't be surprised if he gets a camp invite from a team intrigued by his physical tools, though.
DT Nate Holloway, UNLV
Height/Weight: 6'3", 365 pounds
Much like his former teammate, Holloway fits the physical profile for his desired NFL position. At 6'3" and 365 pounds, the former UNLV defensive tackle is a mammoth force of strength in the middle of a defense. Teams running a 3-4 defense that are looking for a nose tackle will at least have to give him some workout consideration.
Unfortunately, teams don't have much to work with in terms of game film. Holloway's career at UNLV was marked with DNPs. Holloway, the first UNLV commit from Southern Nevada's Spring Valley High, was an instant-impact player as a redshirt freshman. He played in all 13 games as a run-stuffer on the Rebels' defensive line, finishing with 15 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He added 13 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in 12 games as a sophomore.
Those would be the last statistics Holloway ever earned as a member of UNLV's football team. Like many in the supplemental draft, he struggled with academics and eventually found himself on the outs with the team. Expected to complete for a starting position during both his sophomore and junior years, Holloway instead vanished from the team's consciousness.
The situation came to a head last June, when he was one of six players who left the team for undisclosed reasons. It's unclear exactly how Holloway spent his 2012 season, but NFL teams aren't exactly going to be impressed by 13 sporadic appearances nearly three years ago.
Holloway should be happy if he gets a camp invite.
DE Toby Jackson, Central Florida
Height/Weight: 6'5", 257 pounds
The story for Jackson reads somewhat similarly to that of Boyd. A prospect highly sought after high school from Griffin, Ga., Jackson initially decided to stick close to home and play for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs.
He never got the chance, though. In what would become a running theme for Jackson's collegiate career, he was unable to enroll due to academic issues.
He then transferred to Georgia Military College in 2009, after again facing academic eligibility problems. That stint turned into a one-year voyage to Texas' Navarro College before landing at Central Florida in December of 2011. Still considered a potential star—Jackson's career at Navarro College was decorated with an MVP award during the team's national championship triumph—he chose UCF over scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama and Tennessee.
That stardom unfortunately never came. Jackson played in nine games as a junior in 2011, but recorded only 14 tackles and failed to make a sack. His most notable contribution came on special teams, where he blocked a punt. While Jackson was expected to have a greater impact as a senior this past season, he was again unable to qualify academically—essentially exhausting his collegiate chances.
With a resume like that, there—like many of these players—isn't a lot to work with for NFL teams. Hoping to impress squads with his physical skills, Jackson will host a pro day on Monday to boost his profile. Considering Jackson's nonexistent game film, it will take a lot in that workout for him to cinch being drafted on Thursday.
He should definitely get a camp invite regardless.
WR Dewayne Peace, Houston
Finally, a name college football fans should recognize—or at least the fans who are looking forward to the first season of American Athletic Conference football. As Houston's high-flying offense is expected to make the Cougars a strong competitor during the inaugural season, Peace was initially viewed as an integral part of that effort.
The 5'11" wideout was the Cougars' leading receiver last season, despite missing three games. He had 54 receptions for 603 yards and two touchdowns, with his 10-reception, 106-yard performance against UCLA standing out as particularly impressive. However, those three games missed were due to a violation of team rules—an ominous sign for a kid whose career started in junior college.
Things only got worse from there. Peace cascaded down the depth chart during spring practice this year, so much so that he was not even listed with the first team. An entire quartet of receivers—Deontay Greenberry, Larry McDuffey, Xavier Maxwell and Daniel Spencer—had leapfrogged Peace in the Cougars' pecking order, a strange fall for a man who had been so important a year prior.
Then came word that Peace was academically ineligible in June, leaving him little choice but to try his hand at professional ball.
Despite having a tangible tape and good hands, Peace is unlikely to get drafted Thursday. He fell down the depth chart at Houston because there were more physically capable receivers on the roster, as will obviously be the case at the NFL level. He has a good set of hands and runs routes relatively well, but Houston's offense was also conducive to his skills.
If he had a little more explosion, it's possible that he could get a seventh-round flyer. But instead, he'll probably have to try linking up with a team in camp.
WR O.J. Ross, Purdue
Projection: Sixth Round
Of the players in this class, Ross is probably the cream of the crop. One of Purdue's major coups during its 2010 recruiting class, the versatile receiver has spent the last three seasons as part of the Boilermakers' rotation at the position.
He made four starts as a true freshman, grabbing 11 passes for 149 yards. But it was his athleticism and adaptability that made him an interesting guy to watch for all Big Ten opponents. It became less of a staple as his career went on, but Ross also got carries and returned kicks as a freshman. His emergence as a playmaker continued as a sophomore, where he had 33 receptions for 356 yards while making 10 starts.
However, it was in that 2011 season where Ross first landed in some trouble. He was suspended for Purdue's trip to the Caesar's Pizza Bowl and stripped of his scholarship due to academic issues—though he was later reinstated in May of last year.
And for Purdue, it was probably a good thing Ross did come back into the fold. With his first off-the-field scare behind him, Ross finally started showing off his much-hyped talent. He had 56 receptions for 454 yards last season, as Purdue looked to get him the ball on quick hits and have him work after the catch. The 5'10" receiver wound up finishing second on the team in both major statistical categories, despite missing three contests.
Expected to play an even greater role as a senior, Ross saw the final nail be struck into coffin of his college career in February, when he was suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Without much hope of working his way back into Purdue's good graces, Ross declared himself eligible for the supplemental draft and will cross his fingers on Thursday.
Nothing is guaranteed in these drafts, but Ross arguably has the best chance to hear his name called. He's an athletic underneath receiver who could help out on special teams, and he is the kind of player who has become increasingly present on NFL rosters. No one will confuse him with Josh Gordon, but he might be worth the risk come Round 6 or Round 7.
DB Damond Smith, South Alabama
Height/Weight: 5'11", 181 pounds
Projection: Seventh round
Smith is the only player we know has tangible NFL interest. Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt notes that the Green Bay Packers tried signing Smith after he went undrafted this April, but they were informed that he had not filled out the eligibility paperwork and would instead have to enter the supplemental draft.
Smith wowed scouts with a 4.4-second 40-yard dash time during the spring, and he has also shown a toughness that you wouldn't expect from someone with such a wiry frame. He's a talented kid who also works hard on the field, and Green Bay's interest could give him some hope.
Smith also has enough red flags to fit in at Pamplona. Initially enrolled at Western Michigan, Smith emerged in his first two seasons as a regular fit in the team's defense. He recorded two interceptions and batted down three balls during the 2009 season and came back a year later as a regular fixture in the starting lineup. Things were seemingly going great until he got into a fight with teammate Doug Wiggins on the field during a loss to Idaho. Both were suspended, but Smith never returned to the program.
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The way he left South Alabama is arguably more concerning. Again suspended midway through a season—this time for "a violation of team and departmental rules''—Smith was again jettisoned from a program where he was on the verge of becoming a standout player. He had started in each of his previous four games, flashing the skill set that made South Alabama take a chance on him in the first place.
It went mostly unreported why Smith was suspended, but Gantt's report notes that it was for a drug violation. Considering that he sat out the entire 2012 campaign, it's fair to say Smith's work in the interviews he has with teams will be as important as his on-field work.
But the Packers seemed intrigued by his physical skill set. If teams share that mindset, it's very possible that a team takes a risk on Smith at the tail end of the draft. Character concerns do have to weigh heavily on teams' minds, though.
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