Supplemental draft has had far more misses than hits

Getty Images

The NFL launched the supplemental draft in 1977. Thirty-eight years and more than 40 picks later, it has generated only a very small handful of great NFL players.

The Saints thought they’d found one in 1981, taking quarterback Dave Wilson with a first-round pick. He stayed with New Orleans for eight seasons, generating a career-high 2,353 passing yards in 1986. By 1987, Bobby Hebert had taken over at the position — and the Saints had made it to the postseason for the first time in franchise history. Wilson took a back seat for the rest of his career.

Four years later, the Browns used the supplemental draft to land Bernie Kosar, who gamed the system to avoid being taken by the Vikings in the regular draft and landed in his hand-picked location of Cleveland as a first-round pick.

Two years later, the Seahawks used a first-round pick in the supplemental draft on linebacker Brian Bosworth, who ended up being a colossal bust.

Two years after that, the Cowboys used a first-round pick in the supplemental draft on quarterback Steve Walsh, despite having invested the first overall pick only three months earlier in quarterback Troy Aikman. It was a confusing move at the time, but a year later coach Jimmy Johnson pulled off a mini-Herschel swindling of the Saints, getting a first-round pick and a third-round pick from New Orleans for Walsh, who never did much of anything at the NFL level.

That same year, the Broncos devoted a first-round selection to running back Bobby Humphrey. After rushing for 1,151 yards as a rookie and making to the Pro Bowl with 1,202 yards in 1990, Humphrey held out deep into the 1991 season, ultimately appeared in four games, gained 33 yards rushing, and was traded to Miami for 1992 for tailback Sammie Smith. Humphrey generated 471 yards rushing in what was his final season of game action.

Also in 1989 — the only year with multiple first-round supplemental draft picks — the Cardinals selected quarterback Timm Rosenbach, who served as full-time starter for only one season (1990) before a knee injury wiped out his 1991 season. He returned to the field in 1992, but he played only three games before his NFL career ended.

In 1990, the Jets used a first-round pick in the supplemental draft on receiver Rob Moore, who after four seasons under 1,000 yards cracked four digits (by 10 yards) in 1994, making it to the Pro Bowl. Traded to the Cardinals for a first-round pick (which became Hugh Douglas) and running back Ron Moore, Rob Moore peaked with 97 receptions for 1,584 yards in 1997, earning another Pro Bowl berth.

Two years later, the Giants became the last team to use a first-round supplemental selection, taking quarterback Dave Brown. He became the starter in 1994, yielded to Danny Kanell in 1997, and finished his career as a backup with the Cardinals.

Since Brown was selected 23 years ago, 18 players have been taken in the supplemental draft. Most notably, the Packers acquired guard Mike Wahle with a second-round pick in 1998 (he became a Pro Bowler with the Panthers in 2005), the Chargers selected three-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Jamal Williams with a second-round pick that same year.

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks, taken by the Bengals in round three of the 2006 supplemental draft, later became a Pro Bowler with the 49ers after only two seasons in Cincinnati. The last Pro Bowl player found via the supplemental draft was receiver Josh Gordon, who currently is serving a one-year suspension after serving a 10-game suspension in 2014 for violating the substance-abuse policy.

Of course, the best player ever to come from the supplemental draft was only a fourth-round pick, and the vast majority of his exploits came with a team other than the one who drafted him. Receiver Cris Carter, picked by the Eagles in 1987 and dumped after three seasons, was claimed on waivers by the Vikings and became a perennial Pro Bowler and, ultimately, a Hall of Famer.

This year, the name generating the most buzz in advance of the supplemental draft is Clemson tackle Isaiah Battle. If neither he nor any other player is picked in the process that unfolds with little fanfare and a weird set of rules on Thursday, it’ll run the streak of no players being taken to four years and counting — the longest drought in supplemental draft history.

40 responses to “Supplemental draft has had far more misses than hits

  1. I can’t look at Bosworth without thinking of Bo running him over.

    Bosworth ran his mouth all wee about how he was going to give it to Bo. 🙂

  2. Theres a reason guys end up in the supplemental draft ( usually injury related or character issues), so it should come as no surprise that there are more misses than hits.

  3. Four years later, the Browns used the supplemental draft to land Bernie Kosar, who gamed the system to avoid being taken by the Vikings in the regular draft and landed in his hand-picked location of Cleveland as a first-round pick.

    ——-

    HA HA HA. He “gamed” the system to avoid going to Minnesota so that he could go to Cleveland (no offense). HA HA HA HA HA. Vikes are terrible.

  4. Who wouldn’t game the system to avoid being taken by the Vikings if they had the option? Smart guy

  5. Jared Gaither was a 6th round supplemental pick by the Ravens in 2007.

    He started for a year at left tackle and played well, until his back “issue” sprung up and he was moved to IR and eventually dropped.

    I believe he started for SD and KC too for a few games and got a couple decent paydays before the phantom issue popped back up…

  6. Who wouldn’t game the system to avoid being taken by the Vikings if they had the option? Smart guy

    ———————————————————-

    Someone who ends up in Cleveland. Talk about a lose-lose

  7. Carl Gerbschmidt says:
    Jul 8, 2015 10:07 AM

    Four years later, the Browns used the supplemental draft to land Bernie Kosar, who gamed the system to avoid being taken by the Vikings in the regular draft and landed in his hand-picked location of Cleveland as a first-round pick.

    ——-

    HA HA HA. He “gamed” the system to avoid going to Minnesota so that he could go to Cleveland (no offense). HA HA HA HA HA. Vikes are terrible.
    ___________

    Well, he was from the Cleveland area, so there’s that. Are you thinking he would have jumped at the chance to play for Green Bay in 1985?

    Also, the Vikings got Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman, so I think things turned out just fine.

  8. How was Bosworth a colossal bust? Did you actually watch him play or are you just going with the misconception people seem portray about him? Yes his career was cut very short due to injury, but he was a very good player right out of the gate and it’s unfair to label him that. If you want to call him a jerk for that ridiculous Boz persona, fine, but not a bust by any means. Ryan Leaf would be my definition of a draft bust.

  9. The whole Boz got ran over by Bo is such a myth. Watch the video — if that play happens anywhere but where it did on the field, it would have been a 1 -2 yard gain as Bosworth did bring Bo down, but it happened in the end zone so Bo got the touchdown.

    As others have said, Bosworth gave you plenty to hate, but in reality, his body gave out (probably due to roids), but it wasn’t a case of him not being talented.

  10. You mean goodell hasn’t found some sucker city and a way to squeeze 3 shiny nickels out of televising the supp draft. I think I can confidently say this on behalf of all fans… This is the one and only event we don’t care if he exports abroad.

  11. Glad others have spoken the truth about Bosworth. He was a solid LB before he got hurt. It’s a shame that those who never watched him play actually believe he was bust/bum just because of his clownish antics, and the Bo Jackson play (not many linebackers could have stood up to that one). You’d think that someone who runs a pro football site would know better.

  12. Can’t believe there wasn’t a mention of the greatest d-line man of all time….Reggie White…..go eagles…I would call his selection a “hit”

  13. Bosworth showed up to his first Seahawks practice in a helicopter lol. I bet Chuck Knox was fuming.

    He was a marketing machine. The original Deion Sanders.

    Too bad his body couldn’t hold up.

  14. justintuckrule says:
    Jul 8, 2015 10:41 AM

    You mean goodell hasn’t found some sucker city and a way to squeeze 3 shiny nickels out of televising the supp draft. I think I can confidently say this on behalf of all fans… This is the one and only event we don’t care if he exports abroad.

    I’d be willing to bet that a whole lot of fans would watch it.

  15. gaeagled says:
    Jul 8, 2015 10:46 AM

    Can’t believe there wasn’t a mention of the greatest d-line man of all time….Reggie White…..go eagles…I would call his selection a “hit”
    ——————————————————————
    I thought Reggie was signed from the USFL after it folded.

  16. While Johnson did get value for Walsh, It wasn’t enough as that pick cost them the first overall pick the following year for the one win Cowboys. That should have been noted…

  17. The supplemental draft brings up another fun story line for a one of those N”If”L episodes: what if the Cowboys hadn’t picked Steve Walsh with a supplemental first round pick? They would have had the first overall pick in the 1990 draft, and we know they wouldn’t have drafted Jeff George. Would they have taken Penn State running back Blair Thomas, or trade down so they could still get Emmitt? They also could have gotten Cortez Kennedy or Junior Seau, but they really needed a running back.

  18. Boz was a good player, Mr. Florio. You have fallen into the perception trap. He was a jerk, and he was not durable, but he was a good NFL player. He worked hard. There have been many “colossal” busts, but I wouldn’t put Brian in that category. Full
    disclosure: I’m an OU fan, but I think I’m right.
    Go Gerald McCoy and DeMarco Murray, top 100 players! Go Sam Bradford, who will be top 100 next year if he stays healthy.

  19. For what it’s worth, life long Raider fan who enjoyed many games with the Hawks as a kid when they were in the AFC West. This was especially so because I split my time when I was young between Washington State and California, and used to have fun times watching their games in the North West.

    Anyways, I saw that game as it happened where Boz didn’t bring down Bo in time, and it’s been overstated. He wasn’t run over. He lost at the point of attact because he didn’t get him down until too late, but it wasn’t like Brandon Jacobs over Landry. I’ve joked about Bosworth alot but it’s true, there’s been much bigger busts who just weren’t as high profile.

    And his movie, Stone Cold, is great to watched when you’re baked.

  20. Boz was arguably the best college LB ever and his pro career ended abruptly and early due to injury, not performance.
    And as a Raiders fan, I have to say that Bo got the best of that play, but to say he “ran over” Boz is a stretch. They collided, Boz dragged him down but into the end zone. If that play happens anywhere but the 1 yard line or involves any other defensive player, it would be completely unremarkable and forgotten.

  21. The ‘colossal bust’ is a huge stretch for Brian Bosworth. The guy had severely damaged shoulders.

    Furthermore, the talk of Bo Jackson ‘running’ him over is another form of using your disdain for him to take over the facts.

    Jackson had a full head of steam, all 230+ pounds while Bosworth was running laterally. Obviously the bigger guy would go forward but keep in mind Bosworth did make the tackle albeit in the end zone.

  22. brian bosworth was not a bust. he was a great linebacker who got extremely unlucky with injuries. getting run over one time by the best athlete maybe ever, and your shoulders giving out on you doesn’t make you a bust. ryan leaf is a bust. the boz played very well during his short time in the league and could’ve been great if it weren’t for injuries. your definition of bust is far different from mine

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.