One of the more inconspicuous events on the NFL calendar takes place this week, with teams given the chance to add to their rookie class in the Supplemental Draft.
Rarely does the Supplemental Draft create much in the way of headlines or intrigue, with only nine players selected in the last 12 years and none since 2015, but this year is different.
Five players have declared for this year's draft, and there is a decent chance multiple members of the class will see their dreams realised.
But what exactly is the Supplemental Draft? Here we explain how it works and take a look at the prospects hoping it will prove their route into the pros.
What is the supplemental draft?
The supplemental draft is held annually following the regular draft. It provides an opportunity for teams to select players who did not declare for the regular draft but who want to move from the collegiate ranks to the NFL. Most players who declare do so because they have been ruled ineligible to play in college in the coming season and would otherwise be in limbo.
How does it work?
The draft order sees teams separated into three groups based on how they performed in the previous year. The first group features teams with six or fewer wins, the second includes non-playoff teams with more than six wins and the final group comprises playoff teams.
A weighted lottery decides the order of those groups, with the teams with the fewest wins having the best opportunity to earn the top picks.
From there, teams submit bids for the prospects and allocate the round they would select him in were it a normal draft. The player will be awarded to the team highest up the order that submits the earliest-round pick, and they subsequently forfeit their selection in the same round in the following year's draft.
When is it?
The supplemental draft takes place on Wednesday, July 11 at 13:00 EST.
Who is in it?
Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech
A tall cornerback with long arms to help him disrupt at the catch point, Alexander has demonstrated impressive ball skills, recording seven interceptions and 17 pass deflections in three seasons with Virginia Tech.
His foot quickness and speed are issues but Alexander still boasts a skill set to succeed in the NFL and could thrive in a defense running a Cover 3 scheme, which typically relies heavily on corners of his physical makeup.
Beal is of a similar build to Alexander but possesses greater athletic ability. He is an aggressive defender who is unafraid to rough up receivers when playing press coverage but also has fluid hips, allowing him to easily turn and run with wideouts.
He has no problems finding the football in the air and had 19 pass breakups in his Western Michigan career, though only two interceptions. While he occasionally pays for being overaggressive in press, Beal's biggest deficiency is his tackling, which lacks technique.
Brandon Bryant, S, Mississippi State
Bryant's versatility, which has seen him go from patrolling the deep middle of the field as a single-high safety, to playing down in the box almost as an extra linebacker, should intrigue teams.
He has consistently demonstrated very quick closing speed, takes good angles to the ball-carrier and is more than capable of finding and making plays on the ball, picking off five passes in his career. Bryant's instincts are in need of some refinement but the potential for him to excel at an undervalued position is there.
Martayveus Carter, RB, Grand Valley State
Carter was one of the top running backs in NCAA Division-II football, averaging over seven yards per carry in two seasons for Grand Valley State.
He boasts impressive burst and acceleration, has the vision and elusiveness to consistently evade defenders and is more than willing to lower his shoulder into contact. Yet there are concerns over his struggles in pass protection, particularly given the level of competition he faced, at a time when being able to play on passing downs has never been more important to NFL running backs.
Bright Ugwoegbu, LB, Oregon State
97 yard Touchdown scored by Marty Carter! pic.twitter.com/A7siS4V9XG— GVSU Football (@gvsufootball) October 7, 2017
Ugwoegbu fits the mould of the linebacker-safety hybrid that is becoming ever more common in the NFL. He looks at ease when defending the pass and would likely excel in a scheme that plays a lot of zone coverage.
However, he tested poorly at his pro day, running the 40-yard dash in 4.95 seconds, reflecting a lack of speed that showed up regularly on film. With a lightweight build that hinders him from making plays near the line of scrimmage, Ugwoegbu's athletic numbers should be of concern to teams considering whether to select him.
Will any players be drafted?
Beal is the cream of the crop and is expected by many to receive a bid of a second-round pick. Alexander and Bryant are both good enough to earn later-round bids, though the former comes with off-field concerns that will damage his stock.
It will likely take a leap of faith from a team to select Ugwoegbu after his disappointing pro day and, despite recent drafts somewhat dispelling the notion that the running back position is being devalued, it would be a surprise to see a team spend a 2019 pick on a small school tailback like Carter.
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