The 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft, which will be held July 11, is rapidly approaching. Will the New York Giants bid to select a player?
Most years the supplemental draft is little more than a speed bump in the NFL’s calendar, a footnote in off-season coverage. This year, however, a trio of prospects could well find themselves selected and in training camps at the end of the month.
We’ve mentioned it before, but the supplemental draft is essentially a blind auction in which teams bid picks from the upcoming (2019, in this case) draft for players, and the team that offers the highest pick is awarded the player. Pick value is decided by separating teams into three tiers based on schedule the previous season, with pick value within the tier determined by lottery. Teams with lower win totals the previous year have a better chance of being awarded a high pick.
With sole possession of the second-lowest win total in 2018, the New York Giants have the second-highest chance of having a high pick in the highest tier.
The bigger question for Giants’ fans is whether or not their team will spend a 2019 draft pick to acquire one of the three defensive backs in the supplemental draft.
Let’s take a quick look at the players who qualified for this year’s supplemental draft:
Sam Beal, CB, Western Michigan - The Giants have at least a passing interest in Beal, as they attended his pro day on June 28th. In fact, there was league-wide interest in Beal, with 50 scouts attending the workout. Every team sent at least one and some teams sent multiple scouts.
Beal has solid length at 6-foot-1, but is a lanky 180 pounds. He has average speed at with 40 times of 4.47 and 4.55 seconds, as well as a 7.11 second 3-cone drill. However, he also showed above-average explosiveness with a 37 inch vertical and 126 inch (10-foot, 6-inch) broad jump, as well as a 4.09 second short shuttle.
On the field, Beal is a talented cornerback, able to play in both man and zone schemes — though he excels in press-man schemes. He has the quick feet and fluid hips to stick in tight coverage, though faster receivers might be able to get separation running down the field. Beal also knows how to use his length to his advantage, with 21 passes defensed (19 break-ups and 2 interceptions) in 32 career games.
Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech - Alexander is another long, lanky corner at 6-2, 195 pounds. He put himself on the national stage with a strong rookie season, with 55 tackles, 6 passes defensed, and 4 interceptions, but his play declined each of the next two seasons. Alexander isn’t as athletic as Beal running a 4.6 second 40, with a 7.18 3-cone drill and a 4.37 second short shuttle, as well as 35.5 inch vertical and 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump.
Alexander was considered by some scouts to be the second ranked senior corner in the 2019 draft class because of his length and ball skills. He would likely be best in a Cover 3 scheme, using his length and ball skills to disrupt receivers, a la Richard Sherman.
Brandon Bryant, S, Mississippi State - The Giants are also known to have attended Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant’s pro day. Bryant performed well at his pro day, with a 4.45 second 40 yard dash at 5-11 207 pounds, with a 34 inch vertical and 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump.
Bryant has twice made Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks List” of spectacular college football athletes, and is regarded as a physical safety, but he will have to commit to working on his craft at the NFL level. The criticism on Bryant is that too often he relies too much on his athleticism and needs to get better at the mental aspect of playing the safety position.
Given the state of the Giants’ depth chart for the defensive secondary, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them put in a bid for one of these defensive backs. The depth in the secondary behind Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple is downright scary. The picture gets even scarier considering how important reliable coverage is to aggressive blitz schemes and how often teams play in nickel or dime sets.
Safety seems to be better off with Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams, Curtis Riley, and Michael Thomas. Because of that, it seems more likely that should the Giants bid on one of these players, it would be a corner.
It should also be noted that each of these players are in the supplemental draft for a reason. Whether for off-field incidents or academic issues, each of them is ineligible to play college football in 2018 — even if they transferred down a level. Given the importance the Giants have placed upon improving their locker room culture since the end of the 2017 season, it seems unlikely that they would bring in a player they think might be a problem.
It will be interesting to see whether the need to improve their roster overcomes the potential risk of bidding in the supplemental draft.