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NFL skipping supplemental draft for third consecutive year; here are top 5 picks from supplemental era

Written by on June 24, 2022

The NFL will pass on holding a supplemental draft once again, as the league informed teams they will not have one this summer (per NFL Network). In the supplemental draft, any team that made a bid on a player would have to forfeit their draft pick in that round the following season (example, using a third-round pick as a bid on a player in the supplemental draft would result in forfeiting a third-round pick in the next year’s NFL Draft).

Players eligible for the supplemental draft involve any player who had their draft eligibility changed from the time of the NFL Draft to July — when the supplemental draft was usually held. Safety Jalen Thompson was the last player taken in a supplemental draft, as the Arizona Cardinals placed a fifth-round bid on him in 2019. Thompson has 197 tackles, four interceptions, and 11 passes defended in three seasons with the Cardinals — starting 25 of 37 games. 

With no supplemental draft being held this year, let’s take a look at the five best supplemental draft picks in NFL history since the process was enacted in 1977. 

5. Josh Gordon, Baylor WR, Browns

A second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft by the Browns, Gordon’s off-the-field issues took center stage after an excellent start to his career. Look no further than a 2013 season when Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards and 117.6 receiving yards per game — earning an All-Pro selection at the age of 22.

Gordon has missed more than 50 games for violations in his career, having just 1,833 yards since the start of the 2014 season. He was suspended in December 2019 for violating the league’s substance-abuse and performance-enhancing drug policies, not being reinstated until September 2021. He’s showed flashes when on the field, but the numerous violations have hindered the potential for Gordon to have a great career. 

4. Bernie Kosar, Miami QB, Browns

The first pick in the 1985 supplemental draft, Kosar became a star for the Browns in the mid-to-late 1980s — an era which the franchise reached three AFC Championship Games in a five-year stretch. Kosar won a playoff game in three straight years in Cleveland, made the Pro Bowl in 1987, and led the league in game-winning drives twice (1986, 1988).

In nine years with the Browns, Kosar threw for 21,904 yards with 116 touchdowns to 81 interceptions. He’s third in franchise history in passing yards and passing touchdowns (behind Brian Sipe and Otto Graham in both categories) and was the last quarterback to start the season opener for the team for five straight seasons. 

Kosar is one of the most beloved players in Browns history and was a few plays away from getting the franchise to a Super Bowl in his prime. 

3. Rob Moore, Syracuse WR, Jets

Moore was a very good receiver in the league for a decade, finishing with 628 catches for 9,368 yards and 49 touchdowns with the Jets and Cardinals. A first-round supplemental draft selection by the Jets in 1990, Moore made the Pro Bowl in 1994 in his final season with the team when he had 1,010 yards and six touchdowns. 

Moore starred with the Cardinals after getting traded there in 1995, having two 1,000-yard seasons (1996, 1997) and was one of the league’s top deep-ball receivers. He led the NFL with 1,584 yards in 1997 when he posted a career-high 97 catches. 

Leg injuries ended Moore’s career prematurely, as he never played another regular-season snap after the 1999 season (even though Moore was on a roster for two more years). 

2. Jamal Williams, Oklahoma State DT, Chargers

A second-round pick of the Chargers in the 1998 supplemental draft, Williams developed into one of the game’s best nose tackles in the mid-2000s. He earned two consecutive All-Pro selections (2005, 2006) and three straight Pro Bowl selections (2005, 2006, 2007). 

Williams started 135 of 167 games in a 13-year career (12 with San Diego) and finished with double-digits in tackles for loss twice. The Chargers received excellent value by taking a gamble on Williams. 

1. Cris Carter, Ohio State WR, Eagles

A fourth-round pick in the 1987 supplemental draft, Carter is the only supplemental draft pick to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Philadelphia Eagles took Carter in 1987 and he had three productive seasons with the team (caught 11 touchdowns in 1989) before getting released due to substance-abuse issues. 

Carter was claimed by the Minnesota Vikings and notched eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 1993 to 2000, leading the league in receptions once (1994) and touchdown catches three times (1995, 1997, 1999). He earned two All-Pro selections, eight Pro Bowl selections, and was a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team. 

Carter finished his career with 1,101 catches for 13,899 yards and 130 receiving touchdowns. He’s sixth on the all-time receptions list, 13th all time in receiving yards, and fourth in touchdown catches. He’s considered one of the greatest receivers in NFL history.