2013 NFL Supplemental Draft: Breaking Down the Six Available Players
Are There Any Viable Options in the 2013 Supplemental Draft?
The NFL supplemental draft takes place on Thursday, giving teams the opportunity to use a draft pick on a player who, for some reason, has had college eligibility issues and has chosen to pursue an NFL career. At least one team has taken a player in the supplemental draft in every year since 2009, but it is very likely that there will not be a player picked this year.
That being said, teams often surprise with the players that they are willing to take a chance on. Due to the circumstances under which players choose to enter the supplemental draft, each eligible player is usually loaded with character concerns that turn off the majority of teams, and they need a team who is willing to take on a special project. Things are no different this year, as all six players have some type of major off-the-field issue that will hamper their stock. Teams may be extra cautious with the risks that they take this year, considering the fates of two of the most recent supplemental draft picks.
Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent, a 2010 7th-rounder out of Illinois, is in jail after killing his teammate Jerry Brown in a drunk driving accident and then violating his parole after being released on bail.
Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon, who the team spent a second-rounder on last year even after he had failed three drug tests in college, followed up his impressive rookie year by receiving a drug suspension from the NFL.
It should be exciting to see if any team is intrigued enough by a prospect to spend a draft pick on him Thursday. Here is everything you need to know about the six eligible players.
James Boyd, DE, UNLV
Boyd is an incredible athlete who has had some issues off the field and has had trouble concentrating on one area. He was originally enrolled at USC where he began as a tight end, then switched to defensive end, moved to quarterback, and then switched back to tight end again. He also planned to play basketball before getting injured. He was kicked off the team after his redshirt freshman season due to academic issues and disagreements with coach Lane Kiffin.
After a season in junior college, Boyd transferred to UNLV for his junior year and once again tried to play quarterback before making a permanent move to defensive end. The 6'5”, 255-pound end was a solid contributor to the Rebels' defense for most of the season, though he by no means dominated. It is not widely known why Boyd is not going to be playing for the Rebels again in 2013.
NFL teams may see issues with Boyd's level of commitment due to his frequent position changes along with reports that he threatened to quit at USC on multiple occasions before being let go. His size and ability to pick up the defensive end position quickly will certainly intrigue some NFL teams, but with him having some noticeable character issues and still being so raw, there is a near-zero percent chance that any team will give up a draft pick to take a chance on him.
Nate Holloway, DT, UNLV
Holloway's size alone will make 3-4 defensive line coaches drool, but he is a very unknown quantity, which makes it unlikely that anyone will spend a supplemental pick on him. The defensive tackle was listed at 6'3” and 365 pounds prior to his departure from UNLV in the spring of 2012. The school did not disclose the reason for his separation from the football program, but Holloway was mildly intriguing before he left school. He had 13 total tackles in 2011, the last year he played football, 3.5 of which were for losses, and he was expected to compete for a starting job in his senior year.
The kind of shape Holloway is in now will be the key as to whether he gets a shot in the NFL. There are not very many instances in which a player listed at 365 pounds spends a year and a half away from an organized football program and stays in condition. But if Holloway is the exception to the rule, he may receive a shot in a training camp as a nose tackle. It's just not going to be as a supplemental draft pick.
Toby Jackson, DE, Central Florida
Two immediate knocks on Jackson's intelligence, as if being in the supplemental draft weren't enough, are that he had to attend Hargrave Military Academy and Navarro Junior College before becoming eligible at Central Florida, which isn't exactly the most prestigious academic institution in the world itself. After one season at UCF, he was kicked off the team for academic reasons. He attributed this to a lack of concentration caused by the deaths of his cousin and grandfather, but considering his previous academic record, teams have to take this explanation with a grain of salt.
Jackson does have some good on-the-field potential, however. He was listed at 6'5” and 257 pounds prior to his dismissal at UCF, which should intrigue NFL teams. He was the MVP of the 2010 Junior College National Championship and had 14 total tackles, with three for losses, in his nine games at Central Florida. Many consider Jackson to be the most talented player in the supplemental draft, but his academic issues and lack of sample size at the Division I level may prevent him from being taken.
DeWayne Peace, WR, Houston
If anyone has had enough on-field success to warrant being taken in the supplemental draft, it is arguably Peace. The 5'11”, 190-pound receiver led the Cougars in receiving despite only starting six games and playing in nine, catching 54 passes for 603 yards and two touchdowns. Though he does not show an exceptional amount of breakaway speed on his highlight tape, his playing style is very similar to former New England Patriot Brandon Lloyd. He consistently gets open and makes catches, but he doesn't usually get very many yards after the catch.
Peace is a very intriguing athlete, but as the majority of the supplemental draft players do, he has some academic issues. He had to attend Blinn Junior College for a year before getting to Houston, and then he got kicked off of Houston's team this spring for academic reasons. He's a very solid player who deserves a shot in the NFL, but with concerns due to his size, intelligence, and rather low standard of competition at Houston, it is questionable whether anyone will think he is worth a draft pick.
O.J. Ross, WR, Purdue
Out of all the players in the supplemental draft, Ross probably has the most electric tools to allow him to succeed at the NFL level. The 5'10”, 192-pound receiver is a dynamic slot receiver and return specialist, and the ducking and dodging displayed on his highlight tape is bound to impress any evaluator. Ross has the fullest body of work of any player in this draft, having started from his freshman year up until the end of his junior season in 2012. He had the most catches and yards of his career last year, finishing with 56 receptions for 454 yards. However, his average yards per catch was down to 8.1 after being above 10 in his first two years.
It's unknown how serious Ross's off-the-field issues are. He was suspended for an unidentified violation of team rules in the spring, and he obviously was unable to fix things and had to declare for the pros. Ross previously has had issues with academics and was suspended for the team's bowl game in his sophomore year. You would have to think, however, that teams would not take these issues as seriously with Ross as they do with the other players, considering that he attended Purdue, a very good academic institution, and stayed eligible for the large part of three years. If Ross can control his character issues, he could end up being a difference-making slot receiver for an NFL team.
Damond Smith, DB, South Alabama
Smith also has some decent potential as a pro player. It's a given that he will at least get a shot in an NFL training camp, as he was approached by teams trying to sign him following the regular draft before they discovered that he was not eligible. He also has reportedly drawn recent interest from the Detroit Lions.
The 5'11”, 184-pound cornerback is not overly quick and seems to struggle in coverage at times, but he is a ferocious hitter. This hitting ability has hurt him before, however, as he got in trouble for attacking a teammate earlier in his college career. Teams are apparently concerned with his character so it is unlikely that he will be taken in the supplemental draft. But he should still be on a training camp roster nonetheless.