The last week has seen far too many tragedies and horrific violence around the United States, which has rightfully led to the 2016 NFL Supplemental Draft flying under the radar. This year’s Supp Draft takes place on Thursday, July 14th and there are currently ...
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The last week has seen far too many tragedies and horrific violence around the United States, which has rightfully led to the 2016 NFL Supplemental Draft flying under the radar. This year’s Supp Draft takes place on Thursday, July 14th and there are currently ... six players eligible. For those who may not understand why the NFL holds a Supplemental Draft less than six months after the annual NFL Draft, let me break it down for you.
All of the players that are eligible for the Supplemental Draft were still eligible to play college football during the 2016 College Football Season when the deadline for underclassmen to apply for the NFL Draft on January 15th passed. However, since that date they have lost their ability to continue their college career at the school they were playing (It can be for a variety of reasons like losing academic eligibility, being dismissed from team for violating team rules, failed drug tests and being arrested, …), so the NFL allows them to apply for the Supplemental Draft rather than making them sit out an entire year to be in the following year’s NFL Draft. Each player must apply to the NFL directly to be included in the Supp Draft and not every player gets approved.
Although I feel it is unlikely that any player will be selected in this year’s Supplemental Draft, I am confident that at least one and probably up to four will get the chance to sign with an NFL team as a free agent after not being selected in the Supp Draft. So, I have taken the time to evaluate all six players and below are short breakdowns on each player and what I think their chances for success in the NFL are. If an NFL team selects a player in the Supplemental Draft, they lose their pick in the same round in the upcoming college draft. So if a team uses a fifth round pick to select Calgary receiver Rashaun Simonise in the 2016 Supplemental Draft, then they forfeit their fifth round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
2016 NFL Supplemental Draft Player Breakdowns
1. Eddie D’Antuono, Long Snapper, Virginia Tech, 6’6, 265
At 6’6 and 265, D’Antuono has outstanding size for the position and it enables him to be an effective blocker. He can set-up and take on rusher quickly and strong at the point of attack to keep man from pressuring punter / kicker. He does not have a hitch or pick-up prior to firing snap back and does a good job of just firing ball back. On punt snaps he consistently displayed excellent velocity on snaps and averaged in the high 0.6’s from moment the ball first moves until it is caught by punter. However, his accuracy as a snapper was not consistent enough as only one in three was in perfect position where the punter did not have to reach or move to catch punt. Too many of his snaps were slightly low or high, which may not seem terrible, but fi you ask any NFL punter or special teams coach, they will tell you that they will trade 0.1 in time on snap to know the ball will be in the exact right spot every time where the punter does not have to move or reach at all. After snapping ball on punts, Eddie consistently ran down the field and competed hard to defeat blocker and make tackle, but he is slow and limited athletically, which limits his ability to really help on coverage unit.
While his punt snaps were not accurate enough, his place kick snaps were definitely on target every time and the holder did not have to reach to catch it, but as we get to the nitty-gritty of place kick snapping, about half his snaps were perfect in that not only were they on target, but the holder did not even have to spin the ball to place it laces forward. Unfortunately, that is just acceptable and not great for place kicking snappers in the NFL.
In the end, I would not draft Eddie because of his lack of accuracy on punt snaps, but would sign him as a free agent so that my special teams coach could work with him during training camp to see if he feels he can work with him to improve his accuracy. If he feels comfortable with his ability to improve accuracy then he would be a good practice squad snapper to try and develop because he has the size and velocity that NFL teams want and has snapped at a major D1 college for three seasons as their primary snapper.
2. Ra’Zahn Howard, Nose Tackle, Purdue
Howard’s Pro Day Results - 6030, 324, 5.39 and 5.42 on two 40 yard dashes.
24 Inch Vertical Jump, 7’ 8 Broad Jump, 23 Reps of 225 on Bench Press,
5.35 Short Shuttle, 8.37 3-Cone
Howard is a big, naturally strong defensive tackle who no doubt fits best as a nose tackle in my eyes. On film he looks soft bodied and fleshy which makes me wonder about what type of shape he is in; especially after looking out of shape at his pro day according to NFL people I spoke with who were in attendance. Not being in great shape is extremely disappointing because when evaluating the film it is clear he has some natural talent, but he does not produce to the level of his ability due to it.
A big man, Howard has surprising initial quickness at the snap, which enables him to get his hands on offensive linemen first. Combining his initial quickness with his natural strength, Howard can jolt offensive lineman and gets a push when he bull rushes aggressively. However, his tendency to be so high and upright while bull rushing limits his ability to maintain drive after initial jolt and hinders his ability to free up from blocker consistently. Although, he flashes good quickness off the ball, he does not show that same quickness or burst to finish sacks/plays when he is able to free up from blocker and has a shot to make the play. His strength makes him tough to drive off the LOS by head-up run blockers and he can even hold ground vs. double teams at times. In order for him to play up to his natural strength more consistently, Howard needs to get in better shape and do a much better job of bending knees and playing with base/leverage.
I was surprised that for such a big defensive linemen who lacks good speed, Howard did consistently hustle and chase hard after the ball carrier on plays outside the OT’s, but he lacks the speed to get there in time to make plays along the LOS. He did surprisingly make a handful of tackles five or more yards downfield, which is impressive due to his size.
Overall, I would not recommend drafting Howard due to his lack of consistent production at Purdue and how out of shape he looked at his workout. However, I would definitely sign him as a free agent if my team played a 34 defense as Howard has natural nose tackle strength and surprising quickness so he would be worth taking a long look at during training camp to determine if he is worth keeping on practice squad for a season to try and develop him.
3. Jalen Overstreet, Running Back, Sam Houston State, 6011, 212
A former three star recruit who played quarterback in high school and ended up at Texas out of high school, Overstreet was dismissed from Texas in July 2014 for violation of team rules. He ended up at Sam Houston State where he was productive making big plays and finished 2015 as their second leading rusher with 821 yards. However, he was arrested three times during time at Sam Houston (In March 2015 he was arrested for stealing an IPad from an Apartment, in November 2015 he was arrested for possession of Marijuana and then in May 2016 he was indicted for felony charge of credit/debit card abuse), which eventually led to his being dismissed from team. These issues alone will not only likely keep from being drafted, but probably will keep him from ever playing professional football as he is not a rare, special talent that is worth dealing with headaches.
Although he weighs 212 pounds, at 6011 he actually looks a little thin framed on film. He has quick feet and is able to accelerate to full speed fast and has the speed to make big plays. Despite playing in Sam Houston’s option based offense which often leaves big holes for back to run through, Overstreet did show vision/instincts to find open space and sense tacklers coming to make cut to get to open space and has quickness to get through the hole. He is a highly competitive runner who keeps legs churning and fights for every last yard until down, which helps him to consistently run through arm/grab tackles and even break some tackles to gain yards after contact. He is however an upright runner who does not get his pad level down, so at the NFL level I do not believe he will be able to be as productive gaining yards after contact. Similar to many option offenses, Overstreet gets a lot of free yards before he has to deal with a tackler/defender, which will not happen in the NFL and will kill his ability to break tackles at the next level.
As a former quarterback you would expect him to have good hands, but in Sam Houston’s offense he rarely caught the ball and on the chances I saw he did not look overly comfortable catching ball; seemed to fight it a bit. He did do a good job of wrapping the ball up with both hands to protect it and avoid fumbles.
In the end, Overstreet did not show enough talent to make me believe he will get drafted. In addition, considering his off-field issues, I do not think he showed enough talent to convince an NFL team to sign him as a free agent because he I do not think he has enough talent to ever be more than a player battling for a practice squad spot, so why deal with major off-field issues for a player who will never be a major contributor.
4. Tee Shepard, Cornerback, Mississippi, 6’1, 190
Shepard originally signed with Notre Dame in 2012 after being highly recruited out of high school, but he withdrew from school before ever playing a game and ended up at Holmes Community College before transferring to Mississippi after excelling on the field at Holmes. He withdrew from Mississippi (He stated it was due to coaching staff not giving him playing time due to him having hearing issues, although the coaches at Mississippi deny this) and it was rumored he was going to transfer to Miami-Ohio, but that did not happen and he ended up applying for and being approved for the 2016 NFL Supplemental Draft.
Blessed with good size at 6’1 and 190 pounds, Shepard moves much better than would be expected for a 6’0+ cornerback. He is solidly built and has a wiry, muscular frame. Based on Mississippi practice clips and junior college film, Shepard is an intriguing prospect because few cornerbacks over six feet have the foot quickness, agility and all-around athleticism that Shepard showed in this limited exposure. I was impressed with his loose hips and agility as he made it look easy to flip hips and burst in other direction to adjust to outside receiver when he was initially playing inside receiver. He displayed quick twitch athleticism closing fast on ball and has the ball skills to make the tough interception.
Uncommon for any cornerback, Shepard fights through blockers aggressively and is clearly willing to make hard hits. He competes hard chasing to ball carrier and will lower a shoulder to deliver a blow. Overall, the exposure is limited due to the limited playing time he had at Mississippi, but based on his size, athleticism and ball skills I think he would be a good free agent signing after the Supplemental Draft to see if he can take advantage of his physical tools after not being able to do so at Mississippi (Important to note that most players who are very good athletes but do not get on the field at a major college program do not pan out in the NFL, but it is worth a look because it is so hard to find cornerbacks over six feet with good athleticism).
5. Rashaun Simonise, Wide Receiver, University of Calgary, 6’5, 190
Simonese was expected to return to Calgary and be their primary, big play receiver in 2016 before being ruled academically ineligible, which is why he applied for the 2016 NFL Supplemental Draft.
On film it is clear he is a huge receiver at 6’5 and 190 pounds. He is a smooth and fluid athlete with the hands and body control to adjust and make tough catches. He is not an explosive, speed receiver, which I think will likely keep him from being selected in the Supplemental Draft. However, I think that with his size, hands and consistency that he will likely get a chance as a free agent signing by an NFL after he goes undrafted in the Supplemental Draft.
6. Cameron Walton, Defensive End, Concordia College, 6’3, 230
Walton was going to be a senior for the 2016 college football season, but when Concordia decided to shut down their college football program his plans changed. He wanted to transfer in order to play his senior season at another school and likely would have been able to play immediately because he probably would not have been required to sit out a season. However, it turned out that Walton lacked enough credits to transfer, so in order for him to continue his football career he felt it was best to apply for the NFL Supplemental Draft.
Walton was a standout pass rusher / linebacker in junior college before ending up at Concordia College. He is an under-sized player at an estimated 6’3, 203 pounds and although he played both down in a three point stance as a defensive end most of the time, he is either going to need to add weight to continue playing there in NFL or will need to learn to play off the ball as a linebacker. For the CFL he would need to add some weight, but it would not be as much an issue as some of the best defensive ends in the CFL are in the 250 range.
Quick and agile, Walton consistently displayed ability to change directions fast to beat OT inside to make or disrupt running play behind the LOS or pressure the QB. His agility and balance also really show up when he keeps feet vs low/cut blocks and has an explosive burst to the ball carrier to finish the play. I was impressed with his consistent willingness to compete and chase very hard after the ball carrier in pursuit and combined with his playing speed he was able to chase plays down all the way across the field. When he gets near the play he closes and makes hard hits.
Although he lacks the ideal bulk/weight for a pass rusher and is often out-weighed by OT by at least 50 pounds, he flashes ability to use hands well to jolt OT hard initially and then can defeat pass blocker inside or around the corner with surprising ease. He is however not nearly as effective if the OT handles his initial punch as they can tie him up and eliminate him from the play way too easily. Overall, Walton has the athleticism, pass rush skills and instincts to warrant consideration by an NFL team because pass rushers are so hard to find. I would be surprised if he were drafted due to lack of size, strength and the lower level of competition he played at, but he would be an excellent free agent signing because of the flashes he showed on film and how hard it is to find quality pass rushers in the NFL.