Eagles Have Ammunition but Unlikely to Get Involved in Supplemental Draft
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - If the NFL Draft is the marathon, the league’s supplemental version is the 100-yard dash, an opportunity for all 32 teams to quickly channel their inner Carl Lewis and race to the finish line of no interest in the small pool of prospects made available due to circumstances that affected their eligibility back in April.
This year's supplemental draft, which will take place Wednesday afternoon, is a little different, however, due to the presence of a trio of draft-worthy defensive backs led by Western Michigan’s Sam Beal, a slight but lengthy corner who could have developed into a potential first-round option by 2019 with another good season at the college level.
Beal was ruled academically ineligible at WMU and is making the leap early.
Unlike last year when the Eagles had a dearth of available picks the organization has the draft capital to get involved if they like with 10 2019 picks at their disposal.
It’s been three years since any player was selected in the supplemental draft when the then-St. Louis Rams gave up their fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft in exchange for the ability to have offensive guard Isaiah Battle a little early. Before Battle, you have to go back six years to find Cleveland taking the troubled Josh Gordon with a second-round pick.
Add in Virginia Tech corner Adonis Alexander this time around, who is available due to academic and marijuana issues, and it’s probable two players will be taken for the first time since 2010 when Chicago and Dallas used seventh-round picks on Harvey Unga and Josh Brent respectively.
There is also a chance Mississippi State DB Brandon Bryant, who has a late-round grade according to at least some personnel people 973espn.com has spoken with, makes it three this afternoon and if that happens you are talking about the deepest supplemental draft pool in nearly 30 years since the famous 1989 version where three players — quarterbacks Steve Walsh and Timm Rosenbach along, with running back Bobby Humphrey — were taken with first-round picks.
Part of the allure in this year’s group is the position and the reality of what the modern NFL is. Everyone needs cornerbacks to stop the proliferation of spread offenses and you can never have enough bodies at that position so viable prospects tend to get pushed up the board at least a little bit.
The Eagles, however, are deeper than most at the position, especially outside the numbers where both Beal, likely to be a third- or fourth-round pick, and Alexander, perhaps Rounds 5 or 6, are slotted to go.
With Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas already on hand for Philadelphia at CB, the issue is finding a competent slot option to replace Patrick Robinson and neither Beal or Alexander fit that mold.
That means the most likely option for Philadelphia would be taking a seventh-round flyer on Bryant, a versatile prospect who could move to safety and develop into a solid special teams player.
The Eagles are already searching for a viable third safety behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod and are always looking for difference makers that make Dave Fipp smile. Currently, practice squad vet Tre Sullivan and undrafted rookie Jeremy Reaves are Jim Schwartz's top options for depth behind Jenkins and McLeod.
Running back Martayveus Carter, the Division II Offensive Player of the Year out of Grand Valley State, and Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu are also available in Wednesday's supplemental draft but unlikely to be drafted.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen