Tomorrow night, Thursday, July 9th, the NFL will hold their Supplemental Draft. Traditionally, this is not utilized as a primary source for talent. The last player selected in the Supplemental Draft was Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was picked by the Cleveland Browns in 2012.
Typically, players who declare for the Supplemental Draft have experienced some kind of off-the-field drama, which has led to their school pushing them out the door. In the case of tomorrow night’s event, seven players declared, but only one player has any relevance to the Denver Broncos.
At 6-foot-6, 312 pounds, Battle has the length that teams covet in a left tackle. He also has the athleticism to fit with NFL teams, like the Broncos, who run zone blocking concepts. At his Clemson pro day this past Tuesday, Battle’s best 40-yard dash time was 5.21 seconds.
He had a 24-1/2” vertical jump and clocked an 8-foot-5 broad jump. He has an 85-1/4-inch wing span and 35-3/8-inch arms. A primary concern for Battle, however, is his functional core strength. He only managed 12 reps on the bench press (225 pounds), which isn’t great for an offensive lineman.
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At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this past spring, the player with the lowest reps on the bench press was Syracuse’s Sean Hickey, who only managed 16. He went undrafted, but signed with the New Orleans Saints. The highest was Miami (FL)’s Ereck Flowers, who rocked 37 reps. He was selected with the No. 9 overall pick in the first round by the New York Giants.
For teams interested in Battle’s services, they’ll likely have to be willing to give up a late third, or fourth round pick. For the Broncos, who expect to be one of the NFL’s better teams in 2015 and thus pick towards the end of each round in 2016, they might be willing to expend a late third to acquire Battle.
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But if they choose to take him, they’ll be short that draft pick in 2016 and he would likely need time to develop. 25 of the 32 NFL teams attended Battle’s pro day, so there is a lot of interest in him. With his past off-the-field issues, and a recent citation for marijuana possession, it is generally believed that Clemson pushed him off the team.
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Battle claims he’s declaring for the Supplemental Draft in order to provide for his family financially, as he has a child due this year, but team’s will have to do their due diligence, because of his disciplinary issues of the past and character concerns.
Battle was commonly projected as a 2016 second round pick. Some scouts and draftniks even projected him as a possible first round selection. The Broncos aren’t in desperate need of another young tackle, and especially one who'll need time to develop.
But losing Pro Bowler Ryan Clady has thrust rookie second round pick Ty Sambrailo into a pivotal starting role and subsequently, the Broncos might look to bolster their O-line depth by selecting Battle tomorrow night.
But I wouldn’t count on it.
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