NFL teams were alerted over the holiday weekend of the six players eligible for Thursday’s supplemental draft.
Alphabetically, they are:
DE James Boyd, UNLV
DT Nate Holloway, UNLV
DE Toby Jackson, Central Florida
WR DeWayne Peace, Houston
WR O.J. Ross, Purdue
DB Damond Smith, South Alabama
The two most prominent players are the receivers Peace and Ross (pictured above), who combined for 110 passes for 1,057 yards and four touchdowns in 2012 and were being counted on by their collegiate teams to produce even more as seniors.
Like most supplemental draft prospects — including several others from this year’s class — Peace and Ross requested special eligibility for inclusion into the NFL’s annual July draft because each ran into trouble at school.
Peace caught 54 passes for 603 yards and two scores in 2012 for the Cougars. Ross caught 56 passes for 454 yards and two touchdowns in 2012 for the Boilermakers.
Ross is the more dynamic athlete of the two.
The 5-11, 186-pounder possesses good quickness to make defenders miss and above average hands.He is more quick than fast, however, and may not possess the top-end speed teams are looking for in a mid-sized wideout. Ross was productive over his three seasons at Purdue after signing as a highly regarded prep out of Ormond Beach, Florida and leaves the school with 100 receptions for 959 yards and six scores. He saw time as a kick returner as a freshman, averaging 23.1 yards in 12 opportunities.
He was placed on indefinite suspension from the team in February for a violation of team rules. He previously missed the 2011 Little Caesars Bowl due to academics.
Peace was deemed academically ineligible and kicked off the team just last month. Like Ross, the 5-11, 190-pound Peace offers good lateral quickness but he does not possess the speed to run away from defenders.
While the receivers are the most productive players in the 2013 supplemental class, scouts could be just as intrigued by the defenders eligible this summer, including a quick-footed cornerback who reportedly already caught the eye of one NFL team.
A former starter as a true freshman at Western Michigan who transferred to South Alabama after a fight with a teammate, Smith was allowed to work out at Jacksonville State’s Pro Day this past spring. He measured in at 5-11, 184 pounds there and was clocked by scouts in the mid 4.4s in the 40-yard dash. The Green Bay Packers reportedly signed him to a tryout deal following April’s draft but the NFL determined he should instead be made eligible for the supplemental.
Smith did not play in 2012 and saw time in just four games in 2011 for the Jaguars. He recorded 18 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss in 2011. He has good quickness and is surprisingly physical, considering his size.
Conflicts with teammates in his two collegiate stops could guarantee Smith falls out of the seven rounds of supplemental draft, especially considering the hesitancy clubs are likely to show considering the recent Aaron Hernandez fallout.
Of the remaining prospects, the 6-5, 255-pound Boyd offers intriguing size and athleticism. He signed with Southern Cal in 2009 as a highly regarded athlete out of Los Angeles, practicing with the team at quarterback, tight end and defensive end as a true freshman before appearing in two games (at DE) in 2010. He transferred to West Los Angeles City College but didn’t play there in 2011 before signing with the Rebels, where he played in eight games (all at DE) in 2012 after initially practicing at quarterback.
Boyd boasts intriguing size and a quick first step — which helped him record a combined 2.5 sacks in UNLV’s first two games of September this season (Northern Arizona, Washington State) – but was largely shut down by opponents after this because he is so reliant upon his speed and finished with just 21 tackles and the 2.5 sacks on the year. He did not play in UNLV’s final four games of the season.
His former teammate, Holloway, is a massive (6-3, 365) nose guard candidate who was expected to compete for a starting role in 2013. Holloway struggled with academics early in his career and did not record any statistics for the Rebels last season. He was one of six players who left the team in June for undisclosed reasons.
Jackson, like Boyd, struggled with academics throughout a post-high school career which took him from Hargrave Military College to Navarro (Community) College to Central Florida. Jackson looks the part at 6-5, 257 pounds, but didn’t make grades in 2012 and recorded just 14 tackles, three tackles for loss and one blocked punt in nine games (two starts) in 2011 for the Knights.
Since its inception in 1977, a total of 43 players have been selected via the supplemental draft. Among the most notable selections were quarterback Bernie Kosar (Cleveland, 1985), wide receiver Cris Carter (Philadelphia, 1987) and linebacker Brian Bosworth (Seattle, 1987).
This year’s class does not possess an obvious draft-worthy candidate like former Baylor wideout Josh Gordon, who the Browns selected in the second round last July.
At least one player has been selected in the supplemental draft the past four consecutive years and the last seven times the league granted players eligibility. The supplemental draft was canceled in 2008 due to a lack of qualified prospects.
The supplemental draft was originally created for players who had lost their eligibility between the primary NFL Draft in April and the beginning of the next season.
Unlike the televised April draft, the supplemental is carried out via e-mail among teams. The teams, slotted into three groups based on their won/loss percentage the previous year, contact the league with a list of the players they would draft and the round in which they would take them. Any team that uses a supplemental draft pick would then lose the corresponding selection in the next year’s draft. Should a player not be drafted he is free to sign with any team following the conclusion of the draft.
The 2013 supplemental draft will begin at 1 p.m. (Eastern Time) on July 11. Though numerous other prospects have been linked to the supplemental draft in recent weeks, the six players listed previously make up the complete list of eligible applicants.