5 Things to Know About This Week’s Supplemental Draft

by | Jul 9, 2018 | Articles, Life & Style, The League, The Team

The NFL’s 2018 Supplemental Draft will take place Wednesday, July 11th.  But it will be very different from the NFL Draft that took place in April at AT&T Stadium.  The Supplemental Draft won’t include any red-carpet hoopla, wall-to-wall media coverage, or high-profile college prospects. 

Here are 5 Things to Know about the Supplemental Draft:



The NFL began the Supplemental Draft in 1977.  It is conducted for players who weren’t eligible for the regular NFL draft in the spring.

There are many reasons why a player who has petitioned for this summer’s 2018 Supplemental Draft was not eligible for the spring draft.  He could have been recently declared academically ineligible for the upcoming college season. Off-field problems or economic hardship could be a reason a player applies for the Supplemental Draft.  Maybe he’s been kicked-off his college team for rules violations or failed drug tests.  Whatever the reason, the player must be three years removed from either his senior year of high school, or three years removed from his 18thbirthday.

How does the Supplemental Draft work?  It’s like an auction that is conducted by e-mail.

Teams know which players have petitioned for the Supplemental Draft.  If a team wants to select a player, they e-mail his name and his draft round to the NFL office in New York.  If a player is selected by more than one team, he will go to the team that had him selected in the higher round.  If more than one team selects the player in the same round, the player is awarded to the team that has the higher draft position (the same position/slot used in the 2018 NFL Draft).


The vast majority of players that enter the Supplemental Draft are never selected. 

So, what happens if no team selects them?  They are free agents and can sign with any team. But they have missed the offseason programs like OTAs and Minicamp, and they are just hoping that a team signs them before Training Camp begins in late July.  These guys are long shots to make an NFL roster.


Charles Rex Arbogast via AP Images


How rare is it for a player to get selected in the NFL Supplemental Draft?  Since 1977, only 43 players have been selected. 

Five of those 43 players were selected by the Cowboys, more than any other NFL team.

Here are the 5 Supplemental picks in Cowboys’ history:

1989:  QB Steve Walsh, University of Miami (1stround)

1989:  RB Mike Lowman, Coffeyville Community College (12thround)

1994:  TE John Davis, Emporia State (5thround)

1995:  DT Darren Benson, Trinity Valley Community College (3rdround)

2010:  DL Josh Brent, Illinois (7thround)

Around the NFL, there are some very famous and successful players that were Supplemental Draft picks including QB Bernie Kosar who graduated from Miami in just 3 years and declared for the Supplemental Draft after his junior season.  Wide receiver Cris Carter is the only member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who started his NFL career as a Supplemental Draft pick (he had been suspended by Ohio State for signing with an agent prior to his senior year).  Remember “The Boz”, Brian Bosworth?  He declared for the Supplemental Draft after getting kicked off the Oklahoma team after the 1986 season; the Seahawks used a 1stround Supplemental Pick on him in the summer of 1987.

Tony Avelar via AP


Only 3 players have been selected by NFL teams in the Supplemental Draft since the Cowboys chose Josh Brent in 2010. 

Terrelle Pryor, the former star quarterback for Ohio State who was suspended by the NCAA for improper benefits, was selected in the 3rdround by the Oakland Raiders in 2011.  Baylor star wide receiver Josh Gordon, dismissed from the team for a failed marijuana test, was taken by the Browns in the 2ndround in 2012. And offensive tackle Isaiah Battle from Clemson, who had family and off-field issues, was taken in the 5thround by the Rams in 2015.

There is a decent chance that a player gets selected in 2018.  Former Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander, who is no longer playing for the Hokies because he’s academically ineligible, could get drafted this summer.  According to ESPN.com,  two other defensive backs are also decent possibilities:  former Mississippi State Bulldog Brandon Bryant and former Western Michigan star cornerback Sam Beal.


If a team selects a player in the 2018 Supplemental Draft, that team must surrender a draft pick of that same round the following April during the 2019 NFL Draft.

Bettmann via Getty Images

For example, let’s say the Bengals select a player in the 6thround of this week’s Supplemental Draft. The Bengals would lose their 6thRound Pick in the 2019 NFL Draft because they used it this week in the Supplemental Draft.

That’s what happened to the Cowboys back in 1990.  They had used a 1st-round pick in the 1989 Supplemental Draft to select QB Steve Walsh from University of Miami.  That meant the Cowboys surrendered their 1stround pick in 1990 because they took Walsh in 1989.  Luckily for the Cowboys, they had another 1stround pick in 1990 they acquired in a trade, and with that extra 1stround pick in 1990, they selected RB Emmitt Smith, the guy who would become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.