Instant Impact - UGA Corner Headed to NFL

All-SEC Cornerback Paul Oliver was declared academically ineligible by the University of Georgia on Thursday. Scout.com NFL Expert Tom Marino weighs in on Paul Oliver and what his future holds while providing some background on the NFL supplemental draft.

Paul Oliver first got my attention when he was matched up opposite All-American wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the annual season ending battle vs. Georgia Tech. After holding the talented Johnson to just two receptions, he followed that impressive showing with another eye catching effort in the Bulldogs' Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

So where does he go from here? Obviously, Oliver's only football option is to petition the NFL and enter the loosely organized July supplemental draft. The big losers in this scenario are not only the University of Georgia, who now has the unenviable task of replacing one of the top boundary corners in the country, but also the party in question--one Paul Oliver--a player whose draft status will likely be determined and tied to the opinions of in-house personnel scouts, tape-only viewing, and a single individual workout attended generally by local area scouts, most of whom will not to happy about having their summer vacation interrupted.

So what is the supplemental draft all about and how does it work? Well for one thing, don't expect much fanfare, Mel Kiper, ESPN coverage or NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stepping up to the podium at Radio City Music Hall for this non-event. In fact, unless you log on to Scout.com, don't expect to see the results of this process until the following day when you peruse your local newspaper.

Just prior to the opening of NFL training camps (early to mid July), Oliver--along with a handful of players who have fallen through the cracks--will be made available to all the respective member teams.

Here's how the process works: All NFL clubs with 6 wins or less will be given a weighted advantage favoring teams with the fewest amount of victories. The next group will include all other non-playoff teams with all playoff clubs (twelve) making up the third and final group of potential suitors.

Each of these groups is subject to the same weighted advantage favoring teams with the most loses. After the draft order is determined, the clubs will then submit to the league office the name and draft round (if any) they would expend in selecting said player. Teams who extend a draft pick will forfeit the same corresponding pick in next spring's player draft.

Eight former supplemental picks (five quarterbacks), have been selected in the first round including Steve Walsh, Dave Wilson, Bernie Kosar, Brian Bosworth, Dave Brown, Rob Moore, Timm Rosenbach, and Bobby Humphrey. But if recent history is any indication, don't expect NFL clubs to extend a top-round pick on a player given the lack of practical exposure to this individual.

Think about it for a moment. Most teams do not feel entirely comfortable selecting underclassmen who declare in mid-January with an Indianapolis combine, multiple workouts, extensive physical interviews, visitations, and full season tape evaluation. So consider their (NFL clubs) thinking process when making a decision based on none of the above stated factors.

Another major factor that is often overlooked when selecting a player via the supplemental draft route is the fact that a supplemental draft player will in effect attend their first training camp with no minicamp and summer school preparation, thus putting him clearly behind the other rookies and first-year players.

Last season, the Bengals selected Virginia LB Ahmad Brooks with a third-round selection. Brooks, who declared for the draft after having been dismissed from the squad for violating team rules, was arguably a potential top-round selection had he remained in school and was selected in this past spring's draft.

No club--based on his 2005 injury plagued season, a weight and character concern--felt entirely comfortably pulling the switch in either of the top two rounds on this very talented player, thus costing him hundreds of thousand of dollars.

In the case of Oliver, two critical factors above all others will play an important role on where and when he is selected; his ability to run 120 feet (40 yards) and team needs at this very critical position.

Looking for a potential destination for this talented individual? With the loss of Nate Clements via free agency to the 49ers, and having neither replaced him through free agency or the draft, I look at the Buffalo Bills as my early pre-draft favorite.


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