The 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft is a week away, and for the second year in a row — which is a really big deal, by supplemental draft standards! — there are multiple players with enough talent to merit a selection.
For those unfamiliar with the process, the supplemental draft serves as just what it sounds like: a supplement to the NFL Draft. Those players who believed themselves to be eligible for the 2019 NCAA season, who have seemingly lost their eligibility, can declare for the 2019 Supplemental draft. Typically, players lose their eligibility for academic or disciplinary reasons.
So these players are technically in the class of 2019, but they will cost a 2020 draft pick. When you make a supplemental selection, you make it by submitting a certain bid of what round you’d be willing to pick that player in. The highest bid by the weakest team (by draft order from last April) selects the player at the cost of that bid, by forfeiting their 2020 draft selection in that round.
Last season, two players were selected in the 2018 Supplemental Draft. Western Michigan CB Sam Beal, who lost academic eligibility, was selected in the third round by the New York Giants; Adonis Alexander, a defensive back from Virginia Tech, was selected in the sixth by the Washington Redskins. That’s why the usual 256 pick draft was only 254 selections long in 2019 — those two picks were forfeited.
On whom could the Eagles potentially bid in next week’s supplemental draft? Well, with two fifth-rounders (Michael Bennett trade) and at least two high compensatory picks coming for 2020, they have the draft capital to take a risk. Two names stand out.
Jalen Thompson, S, Washington State
Thompson is likely the priciest supplemental player available, but his track record is quite clean — lost eligibility over an OTC supplement, funnily enough — and his film is intriguing. On the Washington State defense, the safeties are often responsible for man coverage over the lost, and Thompson has experience playing in quarters coverage as well as closing downhill against quick-breaking routes.
This, from my scouting report on him from The Draft Network:
Fleet-footed man cover defender who has a nice understanding of route concepts. Multiple examples of great anticipation and recognition of switch stems/route pairings in half a field; has the ability to work pattern match ideas and orchestrated fellow defenders mid-play. Will be patient from off-man alignment over #2 and #3 receivers, maintaining upfield leverage. Does well to patiently wait for the break and explode downfield to get connected.
Thompson makes sense for the Eagles’ secondary room in that he’s a Maddox-like player. Nickel coverage primarily, but could provide some safety/switch versatility given his range of experiences in college. The Eagles are still looking for a young safety to develop behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod — and if Thompson is that guy, they could cut Andrew Sendejo and return the comp pick he’s currently blocking.
Thompson would likely cost a 4th or 5th-round selection. I wouldn’t hate him in the fifth for the Eagles at all.
Marcus Simms, WR, West Virginia
A jitterbug of a wideout with great looseness and explosion, Simms was a deep threat for the Mountaineers and in line for a bigger piece of the offensive pie before the coaching staff changed on him. With a couple of DUIs on his sheet and a history of struggling with coaching, Simms enter the supplemental draft as a bit of a touchy case.
But the talent is there. Dane Brugler wrote this in The Athletic:
Simms is a light-footed athlete and his ability to efficiently gear down allows him to snap off routes or create sudden separation at the top of patterns. He likes to play at full speed, which creates YAC opportunities, using his short-area quicks to routinely make the first man miss.
Simms was comped to Kenny Stills by both Brugler and Brad Kelly of The Draft Network on the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast, so that seems to be a strong signal for where he could end up in the NFL. The Eagles aren’t much in need for a Kenny Stills, seeing as they have DeSean Jackson on the team currently and are excited about his role in 2019 and beyond.