The NFL Supplemental Draft Is a Joke

Guess what? Yesterday was the 2009 NFL supplemental Draft and only ONE player was selected. I repeat ONLY ONE PLAYER WAS SELECTED. Defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon of Kentucky, was selected by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round, and is a long-shot to make the team’s final roster.

Since its inception in 1977, the NFL Supplemental Draft has produced a whopping 39 players who have had NFL clubs give up the following year’s draft selection for a risky player. That equates to mere 1.3 players selected each year.  A couple of years ago, current ESPN sports writer Len Pasquarelli, wrote the following passage regarding the NFL Supplemental draft.

“Of the 34 prospects from the supplemental drafts between 1977 and 2005, nine never played even a single snap in a regular-season game and 16 never started. Only four ever made a Pro Bowl appearance. Just five carved out careers that included 100 or more games. The average career span for those 34 players is 44.1 regular-season appearances, the equivalent of less than three full seasons in the league. None has been elected to the Hall of Fame, although wide receiver Cris Carter, who ranks second in NFL history in career receptions, should become the first in the next few years.

A fourth-round choice of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1987 supplemental draft, Carter is a rare success story from the summertime lottery.

Not even using a first-round choice in the supplemental draft — and there have been eight of them, but none since 1992, when the New York Giants selected quarterback Dave Brown of Duke — ensures positive results. For every Bernie Kosar (Cleveland, 1985) or Rob Moore (New York Jets, 1990), the quarterback and wide receiver, respectively, who had productive careers, there have been busts like linebacker Brian Bosworth (Seattle, 1987), quarterback Steve Walsh (Dallas, 1989) and quarterback Timm Rosenbach (Arizona, 1989).”

Since Len wrote that story, there have been only two other players selected in the NFL Supplemental Draft: Georgia cornerback Paul Oliver (SD) and offensive tackle Jared Gaither (BLT) of Maryland. They were taken in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively during the 2007 NFL Supplemental Draft. There was no 2008 NFL Supplemental Draft due to lack of participants.  Rarely will teams risk losing a draft choice in the following year’s draft, because these players usually have some type of academic issue which is usually perceived as a character flag and furthermore, the players selected in the NFL Supplemental Draft must also fit into the player into the current year’s NFL Rookie pool allocation.

The modern day salary cap system has severely hamstrung the Supplemental Draft process. If you notice, most of the notable players from the Supplemental Draft were drafted before the advent of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) structure.  Do not expect to see this current structure to continue moving forward under the new CBA.  The only way it will make sense is if the NFL team is allowed to allocate the amount of Rookie Pool money used in the current year to the following year’s draft with a luxury tax implemented for doing so. But be careful, the NCAA will $%^& bricks, because you will see a lot of players flock to the NFL after final exams and undercut the entire process of “allegedly” wanting its players to stay in school and graduate.

But that is a whole other topic of discussion we will get into later.

For a few examples from the modern day Supplemental Draft take a look at these players taken between 1999 and 2007. Safety J’Juan Cherry (New England, fourth-round, 1999), never actually played a down in the NFL, although his brother Je’Rod was a second-round pick in 1996 to the New Orleans Saints. Guard Milford Brown (Houston, sixth-round, 2002), has played in 58 games in seven seasons, but is currently not signed with any NFL team. Running back Tony Hollings (Houston, second-round, 2003), has played in 23 games, all with the Texans, but has not made an active NFL roster since 2006 after he was released from the Texans, even though he has signed with the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Jets. Defensive tackle Manny Wright (Miami, fifth, 2005), has played in a total of nine games since unceremoniously entering the NFL in the 2005 with the Miami Dolphins. He has had stints with the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants and is currently not signed with any club in the NFL.

If the proof is not in the pudding for why the NFL needs to cease its Supplemental Draft, then I don’t know what it will take to stop the wasteful energy, time, and money that goes into this joke of a process.

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