NFL teams in search of young defensive backs will get one last opportunity to add to their roster with three prospects -- Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal and Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander -- expected to petition the league for admittance into this summer's supplemental draft.
Bryant and Beal's plans were first reported Wednesday by Tom Pellisero of NFL.com. Through several league sources, NFLDraftScout.com has since confirmed the players eligible for the annual "second-chance draft" and learned that this year's event will take place on Wednesday, July 11.
The supplemental draft is carried out via e-mail among teams and is not televised. The selection order is different as well.
The teams are slotted into three groups based on their win/loss percentage the previous year and are then placed in a lottery, with the official order not being released to the public.
Teams interested in selecting a player contact the league via email with a list of the prospects they would draft and the round in which they would take them. If a team uses a third-round pick, for example, then it forfeits its third-round pick in the next draft.
The supplemental draft was originally created for players who had lost their eligibility between the primary NFL Draft in April and the beginning of the next season. Typically, they are players who ran afoul of the law or failed to keep up with their academic eligibility.
That appears to the case with the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Bryant, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4-rated free safety, who is set to leave the Bulldogs early with gaudy production (157 career tackles and five interceptions) and a reputation as a workout warrior, but with poor grades in the classroom. Bryant was not allowed to participate in Mississippi State's spring practices and he announced in April he would be leaving the team.
Beal (6-0, 185) earned second-team All-MAC honors last season, leading the Broncos with 10 passes broken up. He was overshadowed, at times, by former teammate Darius Phillips (a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati this spring) but Beal offers an intriguing upside due to his combination of size, speed and physicality. Though his numbers dropped significantly (from 55 in 2016 to just 22 last season), Beal's willingness to tackle was the primary reason why the former prep receiver was asked to make the transition to the defensive side of the ball early his career in Kalamazoo. Beal was set to enter his senior season as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 30 cornerback.
If teams are comfortable with the off-field issues that plagued Alexander at Virginia Tech, he could wind up being the player that generates the most interest.
Last week, Virginia Tech officially announced that Alexander, a senior, was no longer part of the team because he failed to live up to his academic obligations. He missed three previous games with the Hokies due to suspensions, including one for testing positive for marijuana.
While teams will want to investigate Alexander's character, his talent and production speak for themselves.
Alexander (6-3, 195) started seven times at rover as a true freshman, registering 55 tackles and four interceptions over 11 games. His production slipped the next two seasons but Alexander showed his intriguing athleticism, converting to cornerback and starting seven of the next 22 games. During that time Alexander recorded a total of 71 tackles, including four for loss, breaking up 11 passes and intercepting three.
Like Bryant, Alexander is expected to turn heads during workouts. Besides his unusual length (at least among cornerbacks), Alexander offers intriguing raw explosiveness, as indicated by an eye-popping 41-inch vertical jump he registered during preseason testing with the Hokies three years ago.
All three players are expected to hold private Pro Day workouts with interested teams. At this early juncture, it appears that the 2018 supplemental draft may have teams more interested than in recent years.
Rich classes in the supplemental draft are rare. A total of 45 players have been selected since the draft's inception in 1977. Among the most notable supplemental selections were quarterback Bernie Kosar (Cleveland, 1985), wide receiver Cris Carter (Philadelphia, 1987), linebacker Brian Bosworth (Seattle, 1987), quarterback-turned receiver Terrelle Pryor (Oakland, 2011) and wideout Josh Gordon (Cleveland, 2012).
No players were selected in the past two summers, with only one, offensive tackle Isaiah Battle (Rams), going in 2015.
The last time more than one player was selected in the supplemental draft was 2010 when the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys invested seventh-round picks in former BYU running back Harvey Unga and Illinois defensive tackle Josh Brent, respectively.
More than two players being selected in the supplemental draft has only occurred twice -- in 1989 and 1987 -- when a total of eight players were picked, including four (QBs Steve Walsh, Timm Rosenbach, RB Bobby Humphrey and Bosworth) with first-round tenders.
Players not selected are considered street free agents and can be signed by clubs following the draft.