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July 11, 2018

NFL Supplemental Draft is today: Should the Eagles try to add a player?

The NFL will conduct the Supplemental Draft today, and for the first time in years, there are actually some players worth drafting.

To give you a quick refresher, the NFL Supplemental Draft occurs every year (typically in July) for players whose circumstances changed their college football eligibility since the main NFL Draft. For example, in 2012, a notable player taken in the supplemental draft was WR Josh Gordon, who failed a drug test at Baylor and was dismissed from the team. 

The supplemental draft goes round-by-round, and teams lose a draft pick in the corresponding round of the following year's regular draft if they bid on, and are awarded, a player. In other words, when the Browns selected Gordon in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft, they lost their second round pick in the regular 2013 NFL Draft. 

This year, there are five players eligible to be selected in the Supplemental Draft, and it is likely that two or three of them will. First, here are the five entrants (in alphabetical order):

  1. Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech
  2. Sam Beal, CB, Western Michigan
  3. Brandon Bryant, S, Mississippi State
  4. Martayveus Carter, RB, Grand Valley State
  5. Bright Ugwoegbu, LB, Oregon State

Alexander, Beal, and Bryant are the three players who could be drafted, with Beal being the standout of the bunch. Carter and Ugwoegbu are unlikely to be selected.  

Should the Eagles have interest?

Seeing as the Eagles had just five picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, and are projected to have an abundance of them in 2019, it could make some sense for them to bid on Bryant, Beal, or Alexander (in that order), and sort of space out the incoming young talent.

However, cornerback isn't exactly one of the Eagles' biggest needs. For the first time in a long time, the Eagles are flush with young talent at corner:

Player Age 
 Ronald Darby 24
 Jalen Mills 24
 Rasul Douglas 23
 Sidney Jones 22
 Avonte Maddox (rookie) 22

In addition to a lack of experience overall, the Eagles don't have a corner on the roster who has primarily played in the slot in the NFL. Of the Eagles' losses this offseason in free agency, the one that could potentially sting is Patrick Robinson, who was one of the best slot corners in the NFL in 2017. Beal and/or Alexander wouldn't remedy that slot corner spot.

Considering the Eagles' overabundance of young talent at corner coupled with cornerback being a position that every team in the league covets, it's unlikely that the Eagles would win a bid for either corner, especially since the Eagles will have the lowest priority in the bidding process in each round after winning the Super Bowl. If they unexpectedly did, Ronald Darby trade rumors would almost certainly heat up again immediately.

The player who makes the most sense position-wise to be added by the Eagles is Bryant, the safety from Mississippi State. Bryant is thought of as a physical specimen who made's Chase Goodbread's list of the freakish athletes prior to the 2017 season.

Bryant is back as a fourth-year junior with some impressive credentials as a freakish athlete. He's consistently run sub-4.3 40-yard dash times in MSU's team testing, making him one of the fastest players in the game. But at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, he's also remarkably strong; he can deadlift 600 pounds and squats 450. He can also vertical jump 35 inches, which would have given him a top-10 finish among safeties at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic has a brief explanation of why Bryant is entering the supplemental draft.

Bryant's mythical speed wasn't exactly "freaky" at his pro day, as he posted just a 4.45 and 4.52 in his two runs in the 40. To note, the Eagles were not among the 14 teams that attended his pro day.

While he was a contributor in Mississippi State's defense in all three of his collegiate years, Bryant's production leaves something to be desired. From 2015 to 2017, he had 157 tackles, 5 INTs, and 7 pass breakups.

If the Eagles were to have interest in Bryant, they will want to see that he can man up against tight ends and slot receivers in the passing game. There are no video cutups of Bryant that I could find, but seven pass breakups over three seasons is underwhelming. There's also this, via Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated

“By the time you get through all the [off-field] stuff, you’re just kind of like, ‘Eh’,” said an AFC exec. Our AFC college director added, “He’s a nightmare [football-discipline]-wise. Very unreliable, plays outside the scheme, not reliable in coverage, his eyes are all over the place. Just can’t trust him. He’s physical and quick and fast. Should he be draftable? Sure. But with all the other stuff …”

Bryant has some athletic ability, and the Eagles signed four undrafted safeties this offseason, which means it was clearly a position where they wanted to get a look at a bunch of young players. It wouldn't be a surprise if they were to make a late-round bid on Bryant, but I wouldn't count on it.

My official 2018 Eagles Supplemental Mock Draft

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