Might Vikings use pick in supplemental draft?

The Vikings haven’t been regular participants in the supplemental draft, but they have an open roster spot. (Photo: Isaiah Battle/USA TODAY)

It has been three years since any team has used a draft pick to select a player in the annual supplemental draft. But the process will continue next Thursday and there may well be a team willing to give up a draft pick to select a player.

Yesterday, the NFL announced that seven players will be eligible for this year’s supplemental draft, with the gem of the group being Clemson offensive tackle Isaiah Battle.

Along with Battle, there are six other players that were announced as supplemental-draft eligible – West Georgia defensive tackle Dalvon Stuckey and defensive end Darrius Caldwell, Houston DE Eric Eilan, Connecticut tight end Sean McQuillan, Kansas defensive back Kevin Short and North Carolina Central wide receiver Adrian Wilkins.

The NFL has the supplemental draft each year to allow players who weren’t eligible for the annual rookie draft to have a chance to be selected by teams. The process is simple – teams assign a draft-round pick they are willing to give up for a player. The team that bids the highest draft pick is awarded the player and the draft order is based on the same draft order as was used in last spring’s draft, meaning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the first team eligible in each round, while the Vikings will be at No. 11 in each round.

The last time a player was selected was Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon, who had been dismissed from the team for conduct detrimental to the program (he tested positive multiple times for marijuana). Anyone who has followed the enigmatic Gordon’s career knows that his troubles followed him into the NFL after the Cleveland Browns gave up a second-round pick in 2012 to select him and he is currently serving a year-long suspension.

On Thursday, both Stuckey and Caldwell held a pro day workout at the West Georgia campus that was attended by representatives of 16 teams. Battle has a pro day scheduled for next Tuesday at Clemson and Wilkins has a pro day scheduled for Wednesday.

Eiland may have the most difficult time getting a team to give up a draft pick because he last played football in 2011. He spent the last four years in the Toronto Blue Jays organization playing minor league baseball.

The supplemental draft, which was first conducted in 1977, is not without its share of players who have had long careers, including former Viking and Hall of Famer Cris Carter. Others who came to the NFL via the supplemental draft include quarterback Bernie Kosar, Rob Moore and linebacker Brian Bosworth.

Most of the players who have been drafted through the supplemental process have been dismissed from their teams for either legal issues or academic problems. Josh Brent, a 2010 supplemental draft pick, was selected by the Cowboys and was later charged with vehicular manslaughter after driving drunk and getting in an accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown. Police documents said that Brent was legally intoxicated and driving 110 mph at the time of the accident and had reportedly been driving as fast as 134 mph in a 45 mph speed limit zone before the accident.
There won’t be nearly the fanfare that the regular draft has. The draft is conducted by conference call and teams submit what round they are willing to part with a draft pick in order to land a player.

It has been three years since a player has been taken in the supplemental draft, which is saying something since all a team has to surrender to potentially land a player over the past two years would have been a seventh-round pick. It is expected that Battle will end the drought, but we will have to wait until Thursday to see if any team is willing to pull the trigger on making a selection.

Although the Vikings have an open roster spot after releasing Taylor Mays before the start of minicamp last month, they haven’t been regular participants in the supplemental draft. In the 37 years of the supplemental draft, the Vikings have only been involved once – giving up a fifth-round pick in 1988 to acquire South Carolina wide receiver Ryan Bethea, who never caught a regular season pass for the team.

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