NFL Supplemental Draft 13: Which Teams Could Make Moves This Year?
The NFL supplemental draft has produced at least one selection in nine of the 11 years since 2002 and in four straight since 2009.
While the 2013 version may not have a sure-fire draftable player in its six-man ranks, there are several team-player fits that make sense late in the draft. Keep in mind, six of the 11 players taken since '02 have come with a fourth-round or later designation.
In the following slides, we'll present the teams that could take a late-round chance in the supplemental draft on a player that fits their scheme or needs.
Green Bay Packers: S Damond Smith, South Alabama
The Packers reportedly brought Smith in for a post-draft tryout (per Bill Huber of Packer Report), but the NFL ruled that the former South Alabama safety should instead enter the supplemental draft.
Now, general manager Ted Thompson will have to decide if Smith is worth a late-round pick in next year's draft.
While undersized at 5'11" and 184 pounds, Smith does have the athleticism and physicality to one day become an intriguing safety prospect. The Packers also have depth issues at the position, with Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian representing the only safeties on the roster with true NFL experience.
At this juncture, however, it appears unlikely that the Packers would sacrifice a late-round pick on a player who they viewed as nothing more than a tryout this spring. Thompson treats draft picks like gold, and Smith simply isn't worth spending one on.
New England Patriots: WR O.J. Ross, Purdue
Events of this offseason will likely sap the New England Patriots of their top five receivers from last season to start 2013.
Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead landed in the AFC West, Rob Gronkowski is on the recovery trail from back surgery, Brandon Lloyd is still on the free-agent market and Aaron Hernandez is dealing with a first-degree murder charge. It's safe to say the Patriots are currently hurting for pass catchers.
A pick in the supplemental draft isn't likely to fix that problem, but O.J. Ross is a quick, shifty receiver who could add to the competition currently in place. He can also contribute in the return game.
Tom Brady and the Patriots have certainly made more of less.
New York Jets: WR O.J. Ross, Purdue
Behind starters Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes, the New York Jets receiving depth chart is lacking the quality needed to turn around the offense's declining passing game.
While Jeremy Kerley is a nice slot option, the Jets would do well to continue to stockpile receivers to help find depth answers. Clyde Gates, Titus Ryan and Ben Obomanu are unlikely to solve the problem long-term.
Ross, while undersized at 5'10", did catch 100 career passes while at Purdue. He possesses the kind of short-area quickness that could eventually make him an attractive yards-after-catch receiver at the next level.
New Orleans Saints: NT Nate Holloway, UNLV
Nose tackles who stand 6'3" and weigh over 350 pounds are difficult to find. While Holloway has limited experience and was never a standout at UNLV, he brings the physical measurements that 3-4 defenses crave on the inside.
The New Orleans Saints drafted one such player in Georgia's John Jenkins in April, but a Rob Ryan defense can never have enough run cloggers at nose tackle. He could land with the Saints on a seventh-round flier.
Another possible option could be the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are attempting to replace veteran stalwart Casey Hampton in the middle.
However, the possibility of Holloway being selected in the draft remains low. He's more likely to earn a free-agent tryout with a 3-4 defense—such as the Saints or Steelers—later in the process.
San Francisco 49ers: DE Toby Jackson, Central Florida
No team in the NFL is more capable of stockpiling pass-rushing talent than the San Francisco 49ers.
Jackson, a defensive end from Central Florida, is certainly an interesting prospect in terms of the potential for getting after quarterbacks.
Even at 6'5" and 257 pounds, Jackson has enough athleticism to stand up and play outside linebacker. Or, if the 49ers deem him incapable of playing in a two-point stance, he could potentially pack on weight and be an ideal size to play the five-technique.
It's also worth noting that Jackson was being courted by the likes of Alabama and Georgia following his brief stint at community college, per Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated. There's obvious talent here that Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers could potentially develop.
Chicago Bears: DE James Boyd, UNLV
Any 4-3 defense looking for an athletic but raw pass-rusher at defensive end could turn to UNLV's James Boyd.
Once a highly recruited prospect who landed at USC, Boyd bounced around from defensive end to quarterback to tight end and back to defensive end during his collegiate days. At 6'5" and 250 pounds, he's now solidified as a defensive option.
Any team that takes a chance on Boyd will certainly have its work cut out in molding him into a pass-rusher. He produced just 2.5 sacks last season at UNLV, mostly due to his reliance on speed, per Rob Rang of CBS Sports.
A team such as the Bears or Seattle Seahawks could stash Boyd and help him develop the technique he needs to team with his athleticism. The upside here is certainly worth 4-3 teams taking a long look, even if Boyd ends up going undrafted in the supplemental draft.