Is the supplemental draft important?


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We told you a little bit about ex-BYU tailback Harvey Unga yesterday, and his inclusion in the July 15 supplemental draft. He’s drawn enough interest league-wide to have somewhere between 24 and 28 teams expected to attend his work out on July 8 in Provo, Utah.

So is the buzz around this kid, in part, because there’s nothing else going on right now? Sure, that’s part of it.

But the supplemental draft has produced plenty of real good players in the past. While the Patriots haven’t really cashed in on this area of the player procurement process — they took WR Chy Davidson (11th round) from URI in 1981 and CB J’Juan Cherry (4th round) from Arizona State — and haven’t dipped into supplemental ranks at all in the Belichick Era, it has worked for others.

The Boz was forced into the 1987 supplemental draft, becoming one of its bigger all-time stories. WRs Rob Moore and Cris Carter, OG Mike Wahle, NT Jamal Williams and, most recently, Ravens LT Jared Gaither were all products of the supplemental draft.

But perhaps the most interesting piece of history about the supplemental draft comes from the guy pictured above — Bernie Kosar — who colluded with the Browns to make sure he played for his hometown club, and used the supplemental draft to make that happen.


So will Unga (or Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli or Northwestern State RB Quentin Castille or Truman State utility player Vaness Emokpae or Illinois DT Joshua Price-Brent) make a big difference?

Probably not. But there’s a chance that makes this an interesting twist to the offseason during a pretty dead time.

Real quick, here’s how it works … Teams can bid on players and, almost like the waiver wire works, are awarded those players accordingly. So if you bid, say, a fourth-round pick on Unga, and no one bids a 1, 2 or 3 on him, he’s yours. If someone else also bids a 4, then priority reverts to the order from April’s draft, with the team with the higher pick being awarded the player.

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If you do get the player, you forfeit the corresponding pick in the next year’s draft.

That’s how the funny business worked with Kosar. The Browns, in 1985, traded for the Bills’ 1986 first-round pick, having worked it out with Kosar that he would declare for the supplemental draft, rather than the April college draft. The Bills had the first pick in 1985, meaning they’d also have the highest priority in the supplemental draft that year. So in essence, they dealt that priority to Cleveland, who used it to draft Kosar, while surrendering the Bills’ 1986 first-rounder.

So anyway, that’s how the whole thing works.

And Unga does look like he can play. We’ll see what happens here in a couple weeks.