Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best and Worst of NFL’s Supplemental Draft

The NFL excels — between the combine, free agency, the draft, OTAs and minicamps — at keeping itself in the news year-round. The league all but shuts down, however, in the three to four weeks leading up to training camps, so besides the occasional police blotter item and Brett Favre speculation, what can we talk about?

The supplemental draft, that’s what.

So we take a stroll down supplemental Memory Lane, with both the good and the bad.

The Best Supplemental Draft Picks

1) Cris Carter (Philadelphia, 4th round, 1987)
The gifted Ohio State All-American was also at the center of the Norby Walters scandal, one of the most notorious pay-for-play NCAA episodes of the decade. The Eagles used only a mid-round pick to acquire a player who became one of the best young receivers in the league, before cocaine abuse cut his Philly career short. Once cleaned up, Carter jump-started his career again at Minnesota and retired in 2001 as one of only two receivers in history (at the time) with more than 1,000 catches.

2) Bernie Kosar (Cleveland, 1st round, 1985)
A confluence of unusual and fortunate circumstances — most notably, a bidding war with the USFL and the fact he was poised to graduate with two degrees after just two seasons playing at the University of Miami — allowed Kosar, an Ohio native, to enter the supplemental draft knowing he would play for his hometown Cleveland Browns. Kosar led the Browns to three AFC title games over his first five seasons, only to lose them all, including two infamous heartbreakers vs. Denver (“The Drive,” courtesy of John Elway, and “The Fumble,” courtesy of Earnest Byner).

3) Rob Moore (New York Jets, 1st round, 1990)
Coming out of Syracuse, he drew comparisons to another Orange great, Art Monk, and Moore did his part to deliver. In 10 seasons with the Jets and five with Arizona, Moore caught 628 passes and 48 touchdowns.

4) Mike Wahle (Green Bay, 2nd round, 1998)
Entered the supplemental draft after completing his military commitment for Navy. Though he started at the academy as a wide receiver, Wahle grew into an offensive lineman and eventually became part of the Packers wall that protected Favre during his prime. He later signed as a free agent with Carolina and helped the Panthers reach the Super Bowl. Wahle started 138 of the 152 games of his 11-year career that ended with Seattle in ’08.

5) Jamal Williams (San Diego, 2nd round, 1998)
The only active player on our list, Williams came out of Oklahoma State and grew to become the quintessential space-eater in the Chargers’ 3-4 defense, three times being voted to the Pro Bowl and twice being named first-team All-Pro. Williams was released this offseason, but the Chargers aren’t finished with him. Williams signed with rival Denver, so he gets San Diego twice this season.

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