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Could Raiders Be Active in 2020 NFL Supplemental Draft?

Scott Gulbransen
nfl supplemental draft las vegas raiders

With the uncertainty around college football for 2020 amid the COVID-19 emergency, top-flight college players may declare early and flood the supplemental draft with what would have been 2021 talent. Could the Las Vegas Raiders be involved in the supplemental draft?

For most Americans over the past few weeks, each day begins with a level of uncertainty most of us have never had to deal with during our lifetimes. For college football players who returned for their senior seasons opting not to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, the uncertainty is the same. Which begs the question: with an unexpected amount of talent pouring into the NFL’s July Supplemental Draft, could the Las Vegas Raiders be players in that market?

While no call has been made on what will happen with the 2020 college football season, that level of uncertainty should motivate many college players to petition to be a part of the 2020 supplemental class. At some point, to look out for their future prospects and ability to earn, college players are going to have to decide if they believe the season will happen.

If players decide to stay with their prospective college teams, and the season is cancelled, they could find themselves unsure the future. That’s why petition to be included in the 2020 supplemental draft could be a wise move should the college season be cancelled or severally curtailed.

If that happens, could the Raiders play in the NFL Supplemental Draft?

I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall. If we have college football, I’ll be so surprised if that happens. – College football analyst Kirk Herbstreit to TMZ Sports

Under normal circumstances, those players eligible for the NFL Supplemental Draft usually have lost eligibility for one reason or another. But in the case of 2020 with the pandemic’s impact on just about eveyrthing, it could be much easier and acceptable for players to petition for the supplemental draft. That could make available players on the Raiders radar that could help them right away.

So how does the supplemental draft work and where would the Raiders be slotted?

The order of the draft is decided by a weighted system which creates three distinct and separate groups: first are teams with six or fewer wins in 2019, second by teams who didn’t make the playoffs but had more than six wins, followed by the 12 teams that did make the playoffs. The Raiders would be in that second tier.

Is there risk for the Raiders dipping into the supplemental draft? Yes and now.

During the supplemental draft, should a team like the Raiders particpate, they are not required to use any picks. If they do want to pick a player, they must submit a bid to the commissioners office stating where they would draft the player in each round. If another team’d doesn’t place a bid for that player at an earlier slot, then the team is awarded the player but must forfeit the pick in that round at next year’s NFL Draft.

Since the supplemental draft was first activated in 1977, the Raiders have only used it to select one player in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft: quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor, who played at Ohio State, was suspended due to an NCAA investigation into improper benefits so he petitioned and was granted entry in the supplemental draft. Pryor played just three seasons with the Raiders before being released and signed with the Cleveland Browns and finished his career in Washington.

nfl supplemental draft las vegas raiders
The one and only time the Raiders made a selection in the NFL Supplemental Draft was 2011 when they took QB Terrelle Pryor in the 3rd round. Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

In the history of the supplemental draft, there have only been eight players who were selected by teams in the first round. The last two were both selected by New York teams: QB Dave Brown by the Giants in 1992, and WR Rob Moore by the Jets in 1990. Two of the supplemental picks who went on to have great careers include Browns QB Bernie Kosar (1st round) in 1985, and Hall of Fame WR Cris Carter who was drafted in the 4th round by the Eagles.

If the college season were to be suspended or cancelled, the NFL might see a flood of first or second round picks like never before. This means talent would be available and could help the Raiders as they take the next step in their building process.

As it sits today, the Raiders are holding one pick in each round of the 2021 NFL Draft rounds 1-4. They also have a 6th and 7th round selection too.

Although it’s legitimate to question how a cancellation of the 2020 football season would impact the supplemental draft, a former Raiders executive and former NFL general manager thinks it would go down differently.

“Ithink the NFL would have to adjust and take into account the lack of college football for any draft,” Michael Lombardi told me. “I don’t think it will be a supplemental draft, as a bail out, they wont let that happen.”

It’s hard to say who would apply for the supplemental draft at this point but it might be something to watch as the Raiders look at building depth and increase talent level all over the roster.