Before I break down supplemental draft prospect, Western Michigan CB Seam Beal, let’s talk first about the concept of the supplemental draft and why a club would spend a pick.
Any player who is in a supplemental draft is there for a reason — and in most cases the reasons aren’t good. In recent years, the NFL has made it difficult for a player simply to apply for the supplemental draft. In most cases, for a player to be eligible to be in a supplemental draft, there is basically no way he can play college football in the coming season, even if he transfers down.
In the case of Beal, he was declared academically ineligible at Western and would not be allowed to play in the 2018 college football season. With Adonis Alexander from Virginia Tech (read Gabriel's scouting report on Alexander here), he also had academic issues, as well as off-field concerns. Mississippi State S Brandon Bryant (report here) also had academic issues and had already redshirted, so there was no way he could play in 2019.
Most clubs are very cautious when using a pick on a supplemental draft player. One reason is that it loses the pick used in the supplemental draft in the following draft. For example, if a club exercises a third-round pick in a supplemental draft, it no longer has its third-round pick in the next draft.
Clubs are cautious because often they just don’t have the information on supplemental players that they do on regular draft players. The window in which to acquire that information is small, and if there are issues, the club may not have enough time to do the proper research on the player.
Then there is also the time factor. A player who is in a supplemental draft has not been part of an offseason program. He goes to camp just a short time after the draft and is immediately way behind the other players on the roster. If he doesn’t have some “special” to him, why waste a draft pick? In many cases, the club using the supplemental draft pick feels that the player it is selecting will make the club and is more talented than incumbent players. If that isn’t the case, why waste a draft pick?
Clubs that have extra picks in the following draft are more likely to gamble on a supplemental pick than a team that has a limited number of draft picks. That way, they aren’t hurt as bad in the following draft if the supplemental player fails.
Generally speaking, players in a supplemental draft do not go as high as their talent level dictates because of many of the reasons I listed above. The risk/reward is much greater than in a regular draft. All clubs interested in these guys will have a medical done, and its result also factors into where a player is drafted.
Only three players have been picked in the supplemental draft since 2010 — OT Isaiah Battle (Rams, 2015), WR Josh Gordon (Browns, 2012) and then-QB Terrelle Pryor (Raiders, 2011). There definitely will be one player — and perhaps two — chosen on July 11, but I don’t think they will go as high as I have seen written in various publications. Here's my breakdown of Beal:
Sam Beal – DC – Western Michigan
6007 – 178 – 4.47
Strong Points –
Height and length for the position. Very good athlete — smooth and explosive. Proficient in man, zone and off coverage. Knows how to get and keep good position in coverage. Tracks the ball well and gets a fair amount of PBUs. Two-year starter at corner.
Weak Points –
Became academically ineligible at Western. Lean-frame guy lacking good upper-body strength. Very average run-support player — misses too many tackles and struggles to shed blocks. Only two career interceptions and drops too many potential picks. Played at a lower level of competition and did not dominate. Did not bench at his pro day.
Way We See it –
A two-year starter at Western. Has ideal height and length to go along with good speed. Might be a little faster than he times. Beal is a smooth athlete with very good change of direction and body control. Stays low in his pedal and has a smooth turn. No wasted movement when he transitions. Can play press, off or zone and be effective as far as positioning with each coverage. When in press, he lacks a strong jam but is able to turn and run with his opponent. He can track the ball and gets PBUs, but Beal does not have good hands and drops too many would-be interceptions. Does not attack in run support. Because he lacks upper-body strength, Beal can struggle to get off blocks and misses a lot of tackles.
Overall, Beal has cover skills and the talent to eventually become a No. 2 corner in the NFL, but he needs to improve in many areas. He must get bigger and stronger and improve his hands. With his lack of strength, aggressiveness and missed tackles, I don’t see him as a special teams player his rookie year. That will hurt his value in the supplemental draft. In a regular draft he may be a third-rounder, perhaps even a low second, but I can’t see a club giving up a third-rounder at this late date. I doubt he goes before the fourth in the supplemental draft. Not being part of an offseason program has already caused Beal to miss a large part of development time. I would not expect him to be much value to the team that drafts him in the first half of the 2018 NFL season, and I doubt he gets drafted as high as my grade says.
Grade B 6.5 Round 4-5