Friday, 17 July 2009

Supplemental Draft

Yesterday was the supplemental draft. In some ways, the supplemental draft is significantly inferior to the general draft. There is no circus, no hype, no Clay Travis prepping alongside the players. That said, there's something (in some ways) much purer about the supplemental draft. And it has some elements of ludicrous.

Just to recap how it works. Players who have not got eligibility left at the NCAA level, for various reasons, and who have missed the regular draft, declare themselves for the draft. Then the NFL teams email the league in a blind auction style, telling the league what round they would be interested in selecting any players in. The draft order is determined by number of wins in the previous season. The team with the highest bid wins. They lose the draft slot from the following year.

The reason that in some ways this process is a larger lottery than the draft (which is really saying something) is that the players have exhausted their eligibility for very good reasons: they are either not the sharpest knives in the block, have legal issues or are broken beyond regular repair. Here's the list of recent draftees.

Manny Wright - a genuine athletic stud, when healthy and not busting people up, the DT out of football factory USC was taken by the Dolphins, then reduced to tears by Nick "Satan" Saban. Struggling with his weight and mental health (not being helped by being belittled on national television, I guess) he made a swift impact for the 'Fins before bouncing out of the league, back to the Bills, the Giants for a superbowl ring but few tackles, and now into af2. His promise has been exhausted.

Ahmad Brooks - again, a stud with problems. Coming out of Virginia, this guy had potential to make an impact on a 3-4 defense, and went to the Bengals (character concerns, eh?) to be tutored by Marvin Lewis. Now he's at the 49ers, where Mike Singletary has shown himself to have an excellent eye for linebacker talent (snark) and in a system that might suit him better. Still, if you can't look good at the Bengals, surrounded by dross, then will you look good at the 9ers, surrounded by... oh wait... they're dross too.

Jared Gaither and Paul Oliver went in the 2007 supplemental draft to the Ravens and Chargers, who unlike the previously mentioned organisations didn't have to rush players into the lineup, and could develop them.

Because there's the second rub - the supplemental draft is like bringing in street free agents halfway through the offseason. The time rookies may need to adjust simply isn't there. However, what you do get is the ability to determine the natural physical level of the players, as there hasn't been the hothousing for the draft tests.

But of course, you do get the players at a discount.

I await to see how the Redskins misuse their draft pick, Jeremy Jarmon. Chances are he'll flame out, because the Skins are as disfunctional as it is possible to be in the NFL without being the Detroit Lions.

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