On Thursday, the NFL will hold its annual supplemental draft. This year's class features six prospects: UNLV DE James Boyd, UNLV DT Nate Holloway, UCF DE Toby Jackson, Houston WR DeWayne Peace, Purdue WR O.J. Ross and South Alabama CB Damond Smith.
This draft acts as some college players' last chance at making an NFL roster before training camps open. However, these players usually come with a lot of risk, as many of these players declare for the supplemental draft due to academic, athletic or character issues in college. Before being drafted by the Browns in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft, WR Josh Gordon had been dismissed from Baylor's program in 2011. He then sat out the 2011 season while at Utah, before declaring for the supplemental draft.
The supplemental draft is run a little differently than the regular draft in April.
First, the official order usually ends up being different than April's draft. The order is determined by a lottery. Teams are grouped based on their 2012 season; Group one is made up of the teams with six wins or less, Group two is those with seven or more wins who did not make the playoffs and Group three includes the 12 playoff teams.
Each group is then placed in their own lottery, with those highest in the group getting better odds of actually landing in the front of their group. So, for example, the Chiefs and Jaguars have the best odds of landing among the top of their group, San Diego and Miami in their group and Cincinnati and Washington in theirs.
Once the lottery is conducted, the official order is set and the draft is ready to begin.
As far as how players are selected, this comes in the form of secret bidding. Teams tell the Commissioner which round pick they are willing to bid on a player. Whichever team submits the highest bid gets the player, but will lose that round's pick in the following April's draft. To refresh, the Browns selected Gordon in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft, meaning they forfeited their second-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Once all players have been given the opportunity to be drafted, the draft is over and any player not drafted becomes a free agent and is free to sign with any team.