NFL Supplemental Draft 2013: Highlighting Players with Best Chance to Be Drafted
There's nobody like Josh Gordon hiding in the group of six young men up for grabs in the 2013 NFL supplemental draft, but there are a few players who could be worth a late-round pick.
Gordon was selected by the Cleveland Browns in last year's supplemental draft as a Round 2 pick. His talent in college was undeniable, and it wasn't a big surprise that Cleveland gave up such a high pick for him.
He put up impressive numbers as a rookie, hauling in 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns. Had it not been for some character concerns stemming from failed drug tests, Gordon would likely have been a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
This year's supplemental draft is less enticing, but there could be some hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These players have the best chance of becoming the next man to rise up from obscurity to be given a chance at earning an NFL roster spot.
James Boyd, DE, UNLV
Nate Holloway, DT, UNLV
Toby Jackson, DE, Central Florida
Dewayne Peace, WR, Houston
O.J. Ross, WR, Purdue
Damond Smith, DB, South Alabama
Full list of eligible players via Rob Rang of CBS Sports.
O.J. Ross, Wide Receiver, Purdue
Of the six eligible players in this year's supplemental draft, Ross stands the best chance of hearing his name called on Thursday, July 11, when the draft is held.
Ross has great speed with a sub 4.4 40 time. He has the ability to adjust to the ball and go get it wherever it is thrown. His speed and his ability to run after the catch makes him a threat to score from anywhere on the field.
Ross earned playing time as a true freshman at Purdue, catching 11 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown in limited action. He continued to make his case as a playmaker for the Boilermakers in his sophomore season, catching 33 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns.
Unfortunately, his sophomore season is when Ross' troubles began, as well.
Before the team's appearance in the 2011 Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, Ross was taken off scholarship after "having academic issues." He was reinstated to the team as a scholarship player once again in May of 2012, according to Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com.
As a junior fresh off his suspension, Ross once again showed his skill on the field. He caught 56 passes for 454 yards and two touchdowns in 2012 and looked to be ready to explode in his senior season for the Boilermakers.
Unfortunately, Ross once again ran into trouble and was suspended—this time indefinitely—by Purdue for a violation of team rules, as reported by Brian Bennett of ESPN.com.
His off-field issues are certainly concerning, but given Ross' speed, quickness and production in college, he might be worth a look as a sixth- or seventh-round pick. Teams in need of slot receivers will be tempted to land him, and nobody should be surprised if Ross is the first—and perhaps, only—player taken in the 2013 NFL supplemental draft.
Damond Smith, Defensive Back, South Alabama
Smith is undoubtedly talented, but his character concerns are significant enough that he could find himself on the outside looking in after the draft.
After establishing himself as a solid starter for the Western Michigan Broncos in his first two years, Smith left the program after getting into a fight with teammate Doug Wiggins and earning a one-game suspension, as reported by MLive.com's Graham Couch.
If that were the only issue scouts had to consider regarding Smith, he may have been drafted in the latter rounds this past April, but it wasn't.
Smith missed the entire 2012 season after he was suspended indefinitely by South Alabama for "a violation of team and departmental rules," according to Tommy Hicks of AL.com.
Even with his red flags, Smith could find his name called at some point during the supplemental draft. Of the six eligible players in this supplemental draft, Smith is the only one who has actually garnered some reported interest already.
Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt reported that the Green Bay Packers attempted to sign him after the draft as an unsigned free agent, but the league determined that he needed to enter the league via the supplemental draft.
James Boyd, Defensive End, UNLV
Elite athletes are highly sought-after commodities in the NFL, and Boyd will be an intriguing player for teams looking to develop a tight end or defensive end.
Boyd was recruited out of high school by USC. He spent his redshirt year practicing as a tight end and quarterback, but he switched positions and broke through to play in two games at defensive end as a redshirt freshman.
Which player has the best chance of being drafted?
Blessed with undeniable athleticism and explosiveness, he made an immediate positive impression.
Then, Boyd left USC after he and head coach Lane Kiffin "butted heads on various issues," as reported by Pedro Moura of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
After one season of inactivity while he went to school at West Los Angeles City College, Boyd transferred to UNLV where he was recruited as a quarterback. It didn't take long, however, before he switched back to defensive end.
Last season, Boyd showed sparks of his enormous potential, tallying 21 tackles and 2.5 sacks for the Rebels. He was injured early in the season, however, and failed to work his way back into the rotation for UNLV.
Boyd possesses the raw tools to succeed in the NFL as a pass-rusher or as a tight end, and it's possible that one team could be willing to roll the dice on him with a seventh-round pick.
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