From the time the Super Bowl ends until April, the NFL’s coverage largely depends on the NFL draft. After all, this is where the next generation of superstars and busts get called up by an NFL team. This draft, however, is not the only opportunity players have to make it into the NFL.
For players who may not meet collegiate requirements, the NFL offers the Supplemental Draft. Through this process, many players get a chance to play pro football.
What is the NFL Supplemental Draft?
The NFL has strict rules meant to protect players by letting athletes mature their bodies and minds. The rules also protect teams from having to deal with teenagers who are still discovering themselves. As such, players must be three years out of high school before they’re eligible for the NFL draft. Sometimes, this does not work out.
In 2011, for example, Terrelle Pryor decided to forego his third year of college eligibility after getting suspended for five games. As a result, he could not enter the normal draft. Instead, he participated in the Supplemental Draft. The NCAA is strict with eligibility requirements. While many stars are implicated in scandals after they leave, sometimes these come too soon.
The NFL Supplemental Draft helps these players who can’t finish college eligibility due to violations or unforeseen events. It takes place after the regular draft but before offseason training. Players must still be three years removed from high school to be eligible for the Supplemental Draft.
Who’s been chosen in the NFL Supplemental Draft?
Just because a player can’t meet the college terms of the NFL draft does not mean they must suffer. Several great players in every position have forged a path to NFL stardom via the Supplemental Draft, reports SB Nation.
From retired NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar to active wide receiver Josh Gordon, many notable players can thank this draft for their shot at the pros. Jamal Williams saw an All-Pro career after being selected in the Supplemental Draft. Rob Moore, Ahmad Brooks, Mike Wahle, and Bobby Humphrey saw varying degrees of success, too.
Brian Bosworth might not have had the NFL career once promised of him. But he received a shot after his legendary college career thanks to the Supplemental Draft. One player, however, stands above all others when it comes to this draft.
Cris Carter, king of the Supplemental Draft?
Cris Carter played three years in college before signing with an agent for his upcoming pro career. As a result, he was ineligible in his senior season. Carter took the time to prepare for the NFL Supplemental Draft. By the time the Eagles selected him in the fourth round, history changed for Carter and the NFL.
Carter took a while to get acclimated. While the Eagles gave him a shot, it wasn’t until he was cut and signed with the Vikings that Carter flourished. At 28 years old and in his fifth year with the team, Carter emerged as a Pro Bowler. One year later, in 1994, he was an All-Pro player. Carter found stardom later than most wide receivers and made the most of it.
By the time he retired in 2002, Carter was a Hall of Famer who received 130 touchdowns, amassed 13,899 receiving yards, and secured his place as one of the best wide receivers ever. None of this would’ve been possible unless the NFL gave players like him a chance in the Supplemental Draft.
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