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The NFL Draft is scheduled to start this Wednesday

supplemental, that is...

NFL Draft Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The supplemental draft has been held on the second Wednesday in July for each of the past two years. This year, it will be on Wednesday, 10 July.

How it works

The NFL has a concise explanation of how the draft works.

  • In July, the league may hold one supplemental draft for players whose eligibility has changed since the NFL Draft.
  • A player may not bypass the NFL Draft to be eligible for the supplemental draft.
  • Teams do not have to participate in the supplemental draft; if they choose to do so, they may bid for the player by telling the league the round in which they would like to take a specific player.
  • If no other club bids on that player, they are awarded the player and lose a pick in the following year’s NFL Draft that corresponds with the round in which they were awarded the player.
  • If multiple teams submit bids for the player, the highest bidder is awarded that player and loses the corresponding draft pick.

Sporting News recently published an article in which they ‘put some meat on the bones’ of this process, adding some explanatory details:

When the NFL says “players whose eligibility has changed since the NFL Draft,” it means players who are not able to return for their final seasons of college, typically due to academic issues or suspension. To be eligible to enter the supplemental draft, a player must be at least three years removed from high school and entering his final year of college eligibility.

As explained by SN last year, the NFL supplemental draft basically works like a silent auction. Teams are able to privately bid on players using next year’s draft picks, and the team that bids the highest draft pick on a player is awarded that player. That team, though, loses the corresponding pick it bid in next year’s draft.

For example, last year, the Redskins bid on and were awarded Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander with a sixth-round pick in the supplemental draft. Alexander was immediately added to Washington’s 90-man roster for training camp, and the team had to forfeit its sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

In the event two teams bid the same pick on a player in the supplemental draft, the NFL turns to a predetermined draft order based on a three-tiered system. The first tier consists of teams with five or fewer wins from last season. The second tier consists of teams with more than five wins but did not make the playoffs last season. The third tier consists of playoff teams from last season. Within each tier, a lottery system - which is just like the NBA Draft lottery - determines the order of the teams.

So if a team in the first tier and a team in the second tier both bid a fourth-round pick on a player in the supplemental draft, the team in the first tier is awarded the player.

Recent History

Only eight players have been selected in the last 10 supplemental drafts. Of those eight players, only wide receiver Josh Gordon has made the Pro Bowl, though he was the taken with the earliest pick, a 2nd round selection. The remaining seven players have been selected using three 3rd round picks, a 5th, a 6th and two 7th round picks, indicating that expectations for these players, and the corresponding investments, were not incredibly high.

2009: Jeremy Jarmon, DE, Kentucky (Washington Redskins, 3rd Round)

2010: Harvey Unga, FB, BYU (Chicago Bears, 7th Round), Josh Brent, NT, Illinois (Illinois, 7th Round)

2011: Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State (Oakland Raiders, 3rd Round)

2012: Josh Gordon, WR, Baylor (Cleveland Browns, 2nd Round)

2015: Isaiah Battle, OT, Clemson (St. Louis Rams, 5th Round)

2018: Sam Beal, CB, Western Michigan (Giants, 3rd Round), Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech (Redskins, 6th Round)

Like in the regular draft, there are seven rounds. If a team has already traded away a pick, they cannot bid on a player with that round’s pick. For instance, if a team traded away their fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, they will not be included in the bid for supplemental players in the the fifth round.

Here are the four players (according to Twitter, at least) who have entered the supplemental draft process:


Marcus Simms, WR, West Virginia

Notes on Simms:

  • 6-0, 194 lbs.
  • 87 catches for 1,457 (16.7 YPC) and eight touchdowns in three seasons.
  • 41 kickoff returns for 992 yards (24.2 YPR), 23 punt returns for 157 yards (6.8 YPR)

Bryant Perry, DB, St. Francis

Notes on Perry:

  • 6-0, 180 lbs.
  • 24 tackles and three pass breakups in lone season at St. Francis

Shyheim Cullen, LB, Syracuse

  • 6-0, 224 lbs.
  • 43 tackles (three for loss), a sack, two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
  • Cullen was suspended for the spring semester due to his academic standing, according to Cullen’s academic standing fell below the requirements of the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.
  • Had Shy not sent his subsequent correction, I was ready to credit him with some clever use of the English language in announcing his “exception”; there are just so many possible layers of meaning. Alas, it turns out to have been autocorrect, or simple bad spelling.

Jalen Thompson, S, Washington State

Notes on Thompson:

  • 6-0, 190 lbs.
  • 190 tackles (11.5 for loss), six interceptions, 17 pass breakups and two pass breakups
  • Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy noted on Twitter that he had been scouting Thompson for the annual all-star game. Rapoport reported that Thompson is expected to be selected during the supplemental draft.

Should the Redskins consider Washington State S Jalen Thompson?

There has been some talk about the possibility of Washington Redskins using a draft pick to select Washington State’s free safety Jalen Thompson. In fact, just a week ago, Mark Tyler published a brief post with a reader poll on that very question.

The results showed a surprising level of interest from readers in the Redskins at least making the effort to acquire Thompson, with roughly 9 out of 10 respondents choosing one of the “yes” options.

Last year the Redskins spent a 2019 sixth-round pick to select Va Tech defensive back Adonis Alexander. At the time, former Hokies coach, Torrian Gray, was the DB coach of the Redskins. Gray has since left the franchise, replaced by Ray Horton.

This year, the NFL got a surprising entry into the Supplemental Draft when Washington State defensive back Jalen Thompson was denied his final year of eligibility. Thompson has been regarded as one of the best safeties in the Pac 12 and was considered one of the better senior defensive back prospects in the 2020 draft.

The Redskins have used the draft and veteran free agency to improve their secondary. Should they be put in a bid for the second year in a row?

Jalen Thompson

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Alamo Bowl - Iowa State v Washington State Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Source: Bigblueview


Height: 6-foot

Weight: 195 pounds

40 Time: 4.57 seconds



  • Very quick mental processor.
  • Good short-area quickness.
  • Flashes solid tackling skills.
  • Has the ability to cover short areas near the line of scrimmage.
  • Solid ball skills and has solid production over three years (190 tackles, 11.0 for a loss, 6 interceptions, 17 passes defensed)
  • Durable player and a reliable starter.


  • Foot quickness is a question.
  • Doesn’t appear to have great speed.
  • Might struggle with man coverage against NFL receivers.
  • Rarely asked to blitz (no sacks in three years)

Prospect video

(Thompson is DB number 34)

Should the Redskins be interested?

The Redskins have consistently worked at building depth and flexibility in their secondary during Jay Gruden’s tenure. The Redskins defensive backfield, of course, is built around two high profile and high priced veteran free agents — CB Josh Norman, signed by the ‘Skins in 2016, and Safety Landon Collins, signed this off-season — but the team has focused on developing a stream of young talent at the CB position, bringing in UDFA Quinton Dunbar in 2015, Kendall Fuller (since traded to KC) in ‘16, Fabian Moreau in ‘17, Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander in ‘18, and Jimmy Moreland in 2019.

The safety position has been more problematic, with the signing of Collins being just the most recent effort by the team to fix the position that has been in some level of disarray since the murder of Sean Taylor a dozen years ago.

As it stands now, Montae Nicholson seems to be the favorite to start alongside Landon Collins, but his benching and subsequent arrest for a drunken brawl last year have left some fans (like me) scratching their heads and wondering if the Redskins 2017 fourth-round draft pick can be relied upon.

The options to Nicholson, however, seem slender.

Troy Apke was drafted in the 4th round last season, but so far appears to be more of a special teams player than a viable starting safety.

Fifth-year player Deshazor Everett has been a reliable Redskin for some time now, but really seems best suited to a backup role.

After that, the Redskins are relying on a pair of undrafted college free agents, or re-positioning another defensive back such as DRC, Adonis Alexander, or rookie Jimmy Moreland.

Thompson has experience as a slot corner, box safety, and free safety, and that experience and versatility should appeal to the ‘Skins. He seems to offer an excellent option as a free safety, manning the deep middle or a deep half of the field. There, he is able to take advantage of his impressive ability to read and react to the offense, while also not being put into a position to expose his (somewhat) average speed. The Redskins should value his background as a hybrid corner/safety, and that could allow Ray Horton some freedom and flexibility in scheming coverages.

Jalen Thompson started every game during the time he was at Washington State. When he surprisingly lost his final year of eligibility, he was on pace to set a school record for games and snaps played and he was regarded as one of the best safeties in the Pac 12.

Tony Pauline of Draft Insider has written that scouts have a third/fourth round grade on Thompson. Teams putting in bids in the supplemental draft tend to go a round or two below where a prospect is rated.

Like Alexander last year, if the Redskins selected Thompson this Wednesday, they would almost have to keep him on the 53-man roster, which might necessitate keeping 5 safeties, and I’m not sure the team will want to do that.

The selection of Thompson would, however, add to the DB depth that the team has been developing over recent years, and potentially help solidify a position group that the team has struggled with for a dozen years.

Draft capital

Some NFL team will likely draft Jalen Thompson this week; it is likely to take a 4th to 6th round pick from the 2020 draft.

  • The Redskins traded their 2020 2nd round pick to move up for Montez Sweat in April.
  • They also swapped a 6th rounder for Denver’s 7th round pick in the trade for Case Keenum.
  • There is a conditional pick in the 6th round from the Su’a Cravens trade, but (a) it is unlikely to be awarded to the Redskins, and (b) conditional picks and potential compensatory picks cannot be used in the Supplemental Draft.

Right now, the Redskins appear to be in this position with 2020 draft picks:

  • 1st round
  • 3rd round
  • 4th round
  • (4th round) (projected potential compensatory pick for Jamison Crowder)
  • 5th round
  • 7th round
  • 7th round (from Broncos)

The options seem to be that the Redskins could offer their 4th, 5th, or a 7th round pick for Thompson. If the pick was successful, that would reduce the number of expected Redskins 2020 draft picks to just 6, leaving them in a position not dissimilar to a decade ago:

Source: Wikipedia

In this low ebb in the NFL off-season, the Supplemental Draft provides a mini-bump in NFL news before training camps kick off in about three weeks. Last year, the selection of Adonis Alexander was generally met with happiness from Redskins fans. Should the team go back to the well, using a 2020 draft pick for another defensive back in an attempt to build for 2019 and beyond?


Should the Redskins spend a 2020 draft pick on Jalen Thompson in this week’s supplemental draft?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    (291 votes)
  • 45%
    (240 votes)
531 votes total Vote Now


Assuming Syracuse linebacker Shyheim Cullen is not drafted on Wednesday, should the Redskins try to sign him as a college free agent to build depth at linebacker?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    (303 votes)
  • 36%
    (177 votes)
480 votes total Vote Now