As the NCAA deals with the uncertainty for a 2020 college football season, the NFL is watching closely with an eye on what could prove to be a loaded class of college football players applying for the supplemental draft.
According to The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones, uncertainty for the college football season is leading many around the NFL to believe there will be an influx of players petitioning to be part of the 2020 supplemental draft.
The NFL’s supplemental draft is held in July each year to provide an opportunity for players that didn’t apply for the NFL Draft before the filing date in January or due to issues involving their collegiate eligibility.
As part of the supplemental draft, teams privately submit their bids on a player with a specific round pick. If a team places the highest pick priority on a player, such as a first-round pick, they are awarded the player as long as they have the top priority. In exchange for the player, the team will give up the draft pick it bid in the following NFL Draft.
Jalen Thompson was the only player drafted in the 2019 supplemental draft, taken by the Arizona Cardinals for a fifth-round selection in 2020. Other notable players taken in the supplemental draft are New York Giants cornerback Sam Beal (third-round pick in 2018) and free-agent receiver Josh Gordon (second-round pick in 2012).
Top college football players could petition the NFL for inclusion in the supplemental draft, arguing that a lost or altered 2020 college football season was the reason for them to declare. However, it would be unprecedented territory for the NFL and it’s unknown how the league would treat those petitions.
If a few college football stars are granted eligibility for the supplemental draft this summer, it could lead to teams being far more aggressive. Given we haven’t seen more than two players taken in a single supplemental draft since 1989, the 2020 draft could be historic.