For the first time in several years, the NFL’s Supplemental Draft is getting some significant attention, and the Green Bay Packers are doing their research on at least one prospect eligible under the rules of that process.
Three players have applied for eligibility into the 2018 Supplemental Draft, and all three are defensive backs. Perhaps that is reason enough on its own for the Packers to be interested, given the team’s recent struggles at the position. Beyond the question of roster need, first-year general manager Brian Gutekunst has already shown a willingness to investigate avenues of player acquisition that his predecessor, Ted Thompson, did not pursue. It is entirely possible that the Supplemental Draft may well be something he considers.
On Thursday, the highest-rated of the three prospects held a Pro Day workout, as cornerback Sam Beal ran through drills at Western Michigan’s campus in Kalamazoo. According to Jamal Spencer of local TV channel WZZM, all 32 NFL teams were in attendance for the workout, and Spencer also reported on Beal’s testing results:
Sam Beal, CB:— Jamal Spencer (@JamalWZZM13) June 28, 2018
6’0, 178 pounds
4.4 40-yard dash with the wind
4.51 40-yard dash against the wind
37 inch vertical
9 inch hands pic.twitter.com/ddUQI0LWeR
As USA Today’s DraftWire notes in their scouting report on Beal, he’s new to the cornerback position:
He joined Western Michigan in 2015 as a wide receiver and made the switch the following year to cornerback, so he has only played at corner for two seasons at the collegiate level. Considering how far along he is already despite his relative inexperience, there’s still a lot of room for Beal to grow, and that’s what makes him so intriguing.
The general consensus on Beal, however, is that he will likely be selected with a third-round bid at the lowest, and he could end up being selected as high as the second round.
As a reminder, in the Supplemental Draft teams can “bid” for players using equivalent draft picks in the following year’s draft. The team with the highest bid is awarded the player and forfeits their pick in the round specified for their bid. However, the order of priority is not directly determined by NFL teams’ 2017 records, but rather by a three-tiered lottery system that is weighted by record. The first tier consists of all teams with six or fewer wins, the second tier consists of non-playoff teams with seven or more wins, and the third tier is made up of playoff teams.
Ultimately, the Packers will be somewhere in the second tier; therefore, any team with six wins or fewer in 2017 could bid a pick in the same round as the Packers’ bid and would be awarded the player. The Packers do hold a second pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and as such they may be willing to forego a day-two pick next spring to acquire another talented cornerback for the 2018 season.
The Supplemental Draft will be held on July 11th. Beal is joined by Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander and Mississippi State defensive back Branton Bryant. The Packers did not attend Bryant’s Pro Day, per NFL.com, and there is no word on whether they were one of the 26 teams in attendance for Alexander’s workout.