2015 Supplemental Draft Primer
It is easy to overlook the supplemental draft when it comes to the NFL’s off-season calendar. Even with the desire to turn every day in to an event to keep the NFL top of the news carousel the supplemental draft is often a non-event with no players taken. More than that, players taken in recent seasons haven’t exactly been long term successes. Since the undoubted successes of the Packers and Chargers selecting Mike Wahle and Jamal Williams in 1998, you can only really look at Ahmad Brooks as a long term success and that came after a change of teams and a change of position.
This year seven players are eligible to be selected, with teams forfeiting their corresponding selection in next year’s draft if they make a pick. In this pre-draft primer we’re going to dig into our reams of CFF data to give you a look at the players that your team could pick up to fill a gap late in the off-season process.
This primer will only cover players who featured in games for or against FBS competition last season so we have no data to add for the West Georgia duo of Dalvon Stuckey and Darrius Caldwell or Kanas defensive back Kevin Short who did not feature on defense for the Jayhawks at all last season.
Battle’s eligibility sparked the major media coverage of this year’s supplemental draft but that Battle is seen as the marquee player available in this class shows how weak a crop this is. Battle is the classic draft conundrum of balancing a valuation of his skills and athletic ability against his on field performance. In terms of overall grade against Power 5 opposition last season 87 offensive tackles earned higher marks and 120 earned higher grades in pass protection.
The optimism that teams will seek in his performance on the field to match his athletic ability is that Battle did improve as the season went on which teams will hope to see continued with NFL coaching. Battle’s worst three games of the season (at Georgia, at Florida State, vs NC State) all came in his first five games of the season while his best three games came in a row in his final three games (vs Georgia State, vs South Carolina, vs Oklahoma). That upturn was led by a strong second half of the season as a run blocker which saw him earn a positive grade in that facet of the game in six of his last seven games. From Week 7 onwards Battle’s run block grade of +11.8 was the 12th best in college football and it is with that optimism that teams will be selecting Battle.
2015 Draft Comparison
Though different players in so much as Battle is a better run blocker than pass protector at this time, Chaz Green of Florida was a surprise mid round pick of the Cowboys after an underwhelming 2015 season. Battle is being spoken about as a third or fourth round selection and based upon his performances in 2015 he would be similarly out of place in those rounds.
An undersized edge defender for the Cougars, Eiland played just over half of Houston’s defensive snaps last season (511/971) on one of the highest graded defenses outside the Power 5. Far from a designated pass rusher Eiland dropped into coverage on 32% of his pass plays (86/276) earning positive grades in both run defense and coverage. After playing only nine snaps in the season opener against the UT-San Antonio, Eiland played more than 30 snaps in all bar one game but only topped 20 pass rushes four times.
On his forays as a pass rusher Eiland notched 21 pressures with three sacks, eight hits and ten hurries coming with a measure of consistency rather than in one big game. Aside from his nine snap season debut Eiland recorded a pressure in every game and a sack or hit in nine of his 12 games thereafter. Listed at 6’2 225lbs Eiland is unlikely to stay on the edge in the NFL and he will need to rely upon his solid work in run defense (+3.3) to get a look to try and stick as an off the ball linebacker.
2015 Draft Comparison
It should be no surprise that players of comparable build and performance didn’t get much attention in the draft a couple of months ago. Ray Stovall of UL-Monroe is of a similar stature and played a similar role and didn’t even get any rookie mini-camp try outs.
Playing 493 snaps last season McQuillan led the Huskies tight ends in snaps last season but his performance was remarkably unimpressive in all facets. As a blocker he earned a -7.7 run blocking grade on 206 snaps and as a rarely used pass protector he earned a -1.3 grade on 28 snaps in protection. As a receiver (259 pass routes) he was targeted only 26 times, catching 16 passes (two drops) at less than ten yards per reception forcing only one missed tackle (in the Week 1 defeat to BYU).
Perhaps the biggest positive to draw from McQuillan’s season was his solid finish to the season as a run blocker with solid games against Memphis and SMU but that followed eight negatively graded performances in his first ten games so that is really searching hard for positives. Included in those first ten games was a disastrous (-5.8) display against Temple which featured only a yard reception and a -5.1 run blocking grade.
2015 Draft Comparison
Mike McFarland of South Florida produced a similar season to a McQuillan within the same conference and will go to training camp as an undrafted free agent with the Texans. Like McQuillan, McFarland had an otherwise disappointing 2015 season until coming up with solid late season displays (better than McQuillan’s) against SMU and Memphis also.
We only have a limited amount of information to give for Wilkins from his solitary game against FBS opposition last season when his NC Central Eagles opened the season with a 52-7 defeat at East Carolina. Wilkins played 53 of his team’s 57 snaps in that game with a 25:28 run:pass ratio. Targeted seven times on the day Wilkins caught four passes for 58 yards (57 of them after the catch) forcing one missed tackle on a 42 yard screen pass accounting for 72% of his yards on one catch.
Wilkins added to his seven targets as a receiver with eight returns (six kick returns with a long of 27, two punt returns including a 19 yarder), value which he will need to prove he can add if he is to get a look from teams either in or after the supplemental draft. Wilkins forced a further three missed tackles on his returns hinting at an elusiveness that might get him at the very least a look from teams before training camps open.
2015 Draft Comparison
Another FCS receiver to impress with one chance against a FBS opposition was DeAndre Carter of Sacramento State. A similar build to Wilkins, Carter didn’t return kicks or punts against Cal but forced three missed tackles on seven receptions in Week 2 en route to a 72 yard display but without the big play that Wilkins produced (long of 15 yards).