The 2014 NFL Supplemental Draft will take place tomorrow at 1pm ET, with just four players eligible for selection. The Supplemental Draft is a chance for players who did not declare for the annual NFL Draft, but were then ruled to have lost their collegiate eligibility for any of a number of reasons, to still get their shot at the league.
The Supplemental Draft is not held in the same manner as the regular Draft, being held entirely via email, rather than the televised spectacular we all watch in the spring. Each NFL team emails the league office if they are interested in any of the players. They also indicate in which round they would select that player. Whichever team lists a player in the earliest round is awarded his rights. The order within a round - needed if two teams select a player in the same round - is set shortly before the Supplemental Draft begins, and is not, typically, released to the public. If a team uses a selection in the Supplemental Draft, they forfeit the corresponding pick in next year's regular Draft (e.g., if the Miami Dolphins were to use a second round pick in tomorrow's Supplemental Draft, they would not have a second round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft).
Any player not selected during the Supplemental Draft, immediately becomes a free agent and is available to be signed by a team.
This year's crop of Supplemental Draft eligible players are:
- Wide receiver Chase Clayton, New Mexico - 6-3, 202 lbs.
- Linebacker Darius Lipford, UNC - 6-3, 255 lbs.
- Defensive tackle Lakendrick Ross, Virginia-Lynchburg - 6-5, 360 lbs.
- Running back Traylon Shead, SMU - 6-2, 230 lbs.
NFL.com's Mike Huguenin and CBS Sports' Rob Rang each wrote scouting reports for the Supplemental Draft players:
Clayton (from Rang) - Clayton was ruled academically ineligible in 2013 and did not play, a significant loss to the Lobos as he flashed playmaking ability as a sophomore, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns and earning Honorable Mention All-Mountain West accolades with an average of 30.4 yards per return, fifth best in the country. He signed with New Mexico as a defensive back but his agility and vision pushed him to the offensive side of the ball, where he saw time at fullback and running back in the Lobos' pistol option offense. He leaves New Mexico with 209 rushing yards and just five receptions for 48 yards. Clayton's length and athleticism are enough to warrant investigation but he's unlikely to be drafted Thursday.
Lipford (from Rang) - Lipford signed with UNC as a highly regarded prep prospect and earned immediate playing time, seeing action in 11 games and even starting once in 2010. He enjoyed his best collegiate season as a sophomore, emerging as the Tar Heels' starting strongside linebacker late in the year and recording 42 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Lipford tore the ACL in his left knee in UNC's Independence Bowl loss to Missouri and missed the entire 2012 campaign. He returned to play at the Bandit linebacker position for the Tar Heels last season, generating six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks among his 20 stops. Lipford's length and athleticism earned him the nickname "Freak" by teammates at North Carolina but he never developed as expected, in part due to average instincts. He is a fluid, explosive athlete with clear upside and therefore could warrant a late round selection if teams are comfortable with his medical report.
Ross (from Hugienin) - could interest some teams because of his size. He played his high school ball in Norfolk, Va., and received some recruiting attention from FBS schools before ending up at Virginia-Lynchburg, a Division II program, because of academics. He also missed the 2012 season for academic reasons.
Shead (from Hugienin) - signed with Texas out of high school in 2010. He was a consensus top-15 running back nationally out of tiny Cayuga (Texas) High, where he set a state high school record for career TDs (141) and was second all-time in state history in rushing yards (10,291). He signed with Texas in February 2010, redshirted that fall, then played sparingly in 2011 (five games, no carries). He transferred to Navarro College in 2012, where he rushed for 1,194 yards and 17 touchdowns, then signed with SMU in December 2012. He was expected to start for the Mustangs last season, but injuries and mediocre play kept him on the bench.
The Dolphins selecting any of these four would be a little surprising, though Clayton and Ross could be a consideration to sign as a free agent. Ross' athleticism and size could interest Miami as they look to stick him on the roster and develop him for when Randy Starks retires (or is not re-signed). Clayton is a project as well, having spent most of his time working as a returner and not as a receiver. At 6'3", however, he could have the size the Dolphins want to add to the roster, despite already having a logjam at the position right now.
I do not see the Dolphins using a pick during tomorrow's Supplemental Draft, though general manager Dennis Hickey could throw a curveball and grab one of the four. How do you see tomorrow's event unfolding?