By: David Connors @DConBlitz
What is the Supplemental Draft?
Every year the NFL holds a supplementary selection process on the second Wednesday in July to give teams one more opportunity to add more players to their roster. Unlike the NFL draft that has more players than draft picks, the Supplemental Draft will only feature a few players who did not enter the NFL rookie draft but are still draft eligible. Just like the rookie draft, once a player makes them self eligible for the Supplemental Draft, they forfeit their right to play in the NCAA. Once the supplemental draft begins, teams can bid on players using their draft picks for the following rookie draft. For example, the Giants bid a 3rd round pick on Sam Beal in the 2018 Supplemental draft, therefore they did not have a 3rd round pick the 2019 rookie draft. If more than one team bid on the same players in the same round. The team with the worst record the previous season is awarded the player, and the other teams retain their draft pick.
Typically, a player will enter their name into the supplemental draft because there is a situation with their current school that will prevent them to play the following season. Since all the players were draft eligible, (three years removed from high school) most of them are going into their final season of college football. The reasons vary for a player to forgo their senior season and to have their names called on a major network in the actual draft. Some players were suspended from the team, others are suspended by their schools. In 2018, Sam Beal was considered a top-100 prospect in the draft out of Western Michigan Universe but wanted to finish his degree. Unfortunately, the young man fell behind with his credit hours. He planned to make them up over the summer, however, he was informed that his playing eligibility in the 2018 season would not be decided until the preseason. Therefore, instead of risking not being able to play, he enters the Supplemental Draft.
The Supplemental Draft typically come and goes unnoticed by most. Some year there is not a player selected, nevertheless, a few gems have been discovered through the process. Eagles selected Hall of Famer Cris Carter in the 1987 Supplemental Draft. In the past 10 years, eight players have been selected. The most notable are WRs Josh Gordon and Terrelle Pryor. The only other player to start in a game was DT Josh Brent.
Position: Wide Receiver
School: West Virginia University
Marcus Simms announced on Twitter that he will be entering the 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft. He has been a deep threat for WVU and a return specialist. Simms is from Bowie, Maryland where he was a two-sport superstar in both track and football. He was coached by former WVU alumni Chris Grier to many accolades including Maryland census All-State, Maryland Big-School All-State, and USA Today’s All-USA Maryland 2nd team. He was considered a 4-star recruit according to ESPN. He selected to play at West Virginia University for Head Coach Dana Holgerson.
Although Marcus Simms played as a true freshman, he really came into his own as a return specialist his sophomore season. He was named All-Big12 2nd team as a punt returner and a kickoff returner and WVU special teams player of the year. He averaged 26.3 yards per kick return. He also finished the season with 35 catches for 663 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 18.9 yards a catch.
Marcus Simms continued to be a vital part of the high flying Mountaineer offense in 2018. He added 46 more catches for 699 yards to his stat sheet. Even though he was still averaging over 15 yards a catch, Holgerson drew up plays to get him in space underneath. He increased his average punt return yards all the way to 9.7 yards a punt. Simms was the WVU game leading receiver twice his junior season and was even awarded player of the game against Texas Tech. He took an unfortunate injury during the Oklahoma loss which kept him out of that game and the Camping World Bowl against Syracuse.
Coming into his senior year, Marcus Simms had sat out all but two practices of the spring camp due to injury recover then “personal reasons.” Simms had thrown his name into the Transfer Portal to allow other colleges to consider his talents for their team, however, transfers have to sit out a season unless they are a graduate transfer or granted a waiver by the NCAA. His eligibility to play in 2019, even for an FCS school, was clouded due to a West Virginia Student Conduct violation according to WVMetroNews. Therefore, instead of dropping to a lower division, Simms has entered himself into the NFL Supplemental Draft.
Marcus Simms: Scouting Report
First and foremost, Marcus Simms has got wheels. Former teammate, Gary Jennings, ran his 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. Simms is a step faster than Jennings so a 4.35-4.45 is a fair prediction for a 40-yard time for Simms. Simms has great YAC ability as well. If given space, he has the shiftiness to make the first defender miss, and he can thrive in a broken play. His contested catch rate is the best among Big12 WR who was supposed to return in 2019 according to Pro Football Focus. He boasted a 73.3 (out of 100) score. The closest player to that grade was University of Texas’s Collin Johnson with a 60. Simms is also a plus return specialist.
Simms possesses a limited route tree. He is not quick at the top of his routes and struggles to create space on his own, besides getting behind the defense. His tape shows a tendency to shy away from contact off the line. There are chunks of his tape where he allowed himself to be pushed around out of his stance. Another year of college football under good coaching would have benefited him. Marcus Simms has the athleticism to be a solid depth receiver for quite a few systems in the NFL, but he will need good coaching. Fortunately, he possesses enough speed to offer as a weapon while the rest of his game develops.
Draft Grade: late sixth round
The Denver Broncos have a really good young receiving group featuring Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, and Noah Fant, but with Emmanuel Sanders still recovering, the Broncos could use a deep ball specialist. In Joe Flacco’s best season, he ran the Kubiak system with Torrie Smith running under is deep throws. He is back in his most comfortable system, and Simms could be another piece of the puzzle. In addition, it would give a deep threat target for rookie QB Drew Locke to develop with.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bruce Arians “no risk it, no Biscuit” offense can never have enough downfield options. The Buccaneers lost DeSean Jackson, and the jury is still out on Breshad Perriman. Marcus Simms has a similar size and skill set to John Brown, a player Arians got the most out of while coaching Arizona. With Perriman being the front-runner for the role in Tampa, a little insurance would be great.
Under the current Baltimore system, they will struggle to add receivers via free agency. They do not overpay for the position and fringe receivers will not see it as an opportunity to get their payday due to the few passing attempts. In the 7 games Lamar Jackson started, he only attempted 170 passes. Therefore, the only way Baltimore can add more talent to their wide receiver depth chart is through the draft. They have shown they want players who can help force defenders out of the box with their speed but can also get the ball on a screen and make something happen. Marcus Simms could be a cheap option for the Ravens to add more of that this season.
Marcus Simms skill set matches the best in an Andy Reid system. So any team that runs it could fit this, but the Eagles specifically is the best team fit for Marcus Simms. A downfield receiver is a key component, and, the Eagles have been looking for their long-term option in that role for years now. Two years ago they tried out Torrie Smith, last year they signed Mike Wallace. For 2019, the Eagles brought DeSean Jackson back home to play the role, however, Jackson turned 32 on December 1st. Marcus Simms could bring much-needed depth to that role in Philadelphia while he develops in his first season in the NFL. He can also learn behind one of the best to become his predecessor when Father Time catches up to Jackson. The Eagles have always had a scout they trust greatly in that area which is why they have had so many players from the Western Pennsylvania region (I.e. LeSean McCoy, Najee Goode, Avonte Maddox. Dion Lewis, Rosul Douglas, Wendell Smallwood). There is no doubt they have a full report on him already. I think the best landing spot for Simms would be in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Eagles: 7th round bid
They already have DeSean Jackson for the role, but they need to prepare for life after DeSean for their young franchise quarterback. Marcus Simms could be that player, and they can get him for next to nothing.
-Pat White, “Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer.”