Before I break down supplemental draft prospect, Mississippi State S Brandon Bryant, 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 Western Michigan’s Sam Beal (read Gabriel's scouting report 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 (report here), he also had academic issues, as well as off-field concerns. Bryant was an academic casualty 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 Bryant:
Brandon Bryant – DS – Mississippi State
5110v – 207v – 4.47v
Strong Points –
Good athlete. Stays low in his pedal. Very willing run-support player and a consistent tackler. Delivers some blow-up hits. Reacts well to the ball in the air and has good hands. Reads run quickly.
Weak Points –
A little short for an NFL safety. Academically ineligible for the 2018 season. Arrested and charged with DUI in January of 2017. Play fell off that season, when he started only 7 games. Inexperienced in man coverage. Not as quick reacting or instinctive in coverage as he is in run support. Had a lower leg problem during his pro day. Has some tightness in his hips and can lose a step off the turn. Was not going to be a starter at Mississippi State this year if he were eligible.
The Way We See It –
Bryant would have been a fifth-year senior this season but was declared academically ineligible. He redshirted as a true freshman and became a starter midway through his redshirt freshman year (2015). Was a starter in 2016 but only started 7 games last season. Bryant is an aggressive tackler with good hitting ability. His coverage skills are just above average. Keeps things in front of him in zone but can struggle when in man. Lacks a smooth turn and can lose some positioning coming out of it. His instincts in coverage must be considered questionable. Overall, Bryant is probably no better than a fourth safety at the NFL level. With his speed and aggressiveness, he has good special teams potential, which could earn him a spot on a 53-man roster. But because of his lack of top coverage skills, Bryant is not a guy you want playing full time.
Grade C 6.4 Round – Free Agent