Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Supplemental Draft

Will the Eagles select anyone in the draft today?

Howie Roseman. (USA Today Sports)

Howie Roseman. (USA Today Sports)

It’s not accompanied by quite the same hoopla as the draft in April, but then again, only six players are available in the supplemental draft today. It kicks off at 1 p.m., and it could conclude just a few minutes later with no one picked.

The supplemental draft, which is conducted via email, entails teams bidding on players by telling the NFL which round they want a specific player. If a club is awarded a player, they lose a pick in next spring’s draft in the corresponding round. Only 43 players have been selected since the inception in 1977, with Cris Carter being one of the most notable people taken.

Some call it the “second chance” draft, as many players who find themselves eligible do so because of legal or other disciplinary issues. Here are the six eligible guys this year:

DT Ra’Zahn Howard, Purdue

Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole says Howard is the only player “expected” to be taken in the supplemental draft today, adding that he could go in the fifth, sixth or seventh round. Nine teams showed up to Howard’s Pro Day last week in Asbury Park, N.J., but the Eagles were not one of them. Howard, who left Purdue because of academic reasons, was reportedly unimpressive during his Pro Day and he appeared to be out of shape. Howard’s agent says he’s been contacted by every NFL team since Howard declared for the supplemental draft. Howard is a family friend of Vinny Curry’s.

WR Rashaun Simonise, Calgary

Six teams attended the Canadian’s Pro Day on Monday, but the Eagles were reportedly not one of them. Simonise, whom Rob Rang of CBS Sports thinks has the best chance of getting drafted, was ruled ineligible for 2016 because of academics. The 6-5 wide receiver has little experience battling press coverage because of Canadian football rules, although Rang says he does have the potential to get over the top of defenses.

LS Eddie D’Antuono, Virginia Tech

The three-year starter at long snapper in Blacksburg is listed at 6-7, 267 pounds, but the Eagles already have a pair of guys battling at that position. The Eagles reportedly gave undrafted free agent John DePalmaunprecedented” gauranteed money for a rookie long snapper earlier this offseason.

RB Jalen Overstreet, Sam Houston State

Overstreet looks like a talented running back, but he was dismissed from Texas in 2014, and has had three run-ins with the law in the last several months. He was reportedly indicted on a felony charge of credit or debit card abuse in May, was suspended after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana, and was charged in March with stealing an iPad.

DB Tee Shepard, Ole Miss

Shepard has one of the more unfortunate stories of these guys, as his play at Ole Miss was hampered because he’s hearing impaired. The highly touted high school recruit, who initially enrolled at Notre Dame before transferring to a community college because of academics, played cornerback, but the coaches reportedly wanted him to move inside to nickel because of his disability. Shepard, however, didn’t think his hearing was a problem, which led to him transferring out of the program last October. He was expected to play for Miami (OH), but it’s unclear what happened with that.

DE Cameron Walton, Concordia

The pass rusher reportedly entered the supplemental draft after Concordia discontinued its football program, but people around the league apparently worry about his size (6-3, 230), strength and level of competition.

WHAT YOU MISSED

“The Eagles are the big surprise on the list.” Birds fans are highly ranked in a recent study of the best fans in the NFL by an Emory University professor.

Analyzing the depth chart at offensive line.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

CSN Philly’s Dave Zangaro takes a look at the battle at left guard.

It was a little surprising [Doug] Pederson was so quick to name [Allen] Barbre the starter for a couple reasons. Their names are Stefen Wisniewski and Isaac Seumalo.

The Eagles signed Wisniewski to a one-year, $1.51 million deal in the offseason. Just after he signed, Wisniewski was pretty forthcoming during his press conference, saying he was disappointed to not get a long-term deal. No, he’s never been a Pro Bowl player, but Wisniewski has started in all 77 games he’s played in the NFL since being drafted in the second round in 2011. Wisniewski is clearly not happy about his backup status. “I definitely am trying to start somewhere,” he said this spring. “I think I would be a good starting left guard.”

Seumalo was the Eagles’ third-round pick in the draft and is already behind. Because of the NCAA graduation rule, the rookie missed all of OTAs and the mandatory minicamp. That’s valuable time for a rookie, especially one who has a chance to start. He’ll have to play catch-up in order to overtake both Wisniewski and Barbre. “I definitely think that will be tough for him,” Barbre said about Seumalo’s game of catch-up.

Tommy Lawlor at Iggles Blitz dissects the difficult aspects of evaluating younger players.

There really are a lot of factors to consider when evaluating a player. Scheme, fit, age, health, money, teammates, family, coaching staff are just some of the things to keep in mind when evaluating performance. Some things you know, some you don’t. Remember Sam Rayburn (the DT, not the politician)? He was a UDFA that showed a ton of promise and at one point he was a key piece of the trade for TO. The Niners really wanted him and the Eagles weren’t about to let him go. Rayburn had 6 sacks in 2004 and was really impressive. But then he got hurt and became addicted to painkillers. The injury didn’t take him off the field, but it greatly affected his performance and the drugs changed his life from a dream to a nightmare.

I remember Marcus Hayes being critical of Brian Dawkins following the 1998 season. We all saw Dawk’s talent, but there was some inconsistency. The perfect storm hit in 1999. Dawk entered his fourth season, the prime of his career, and got to play for Jim Johnson, who saw him as a unique talent and not just a good FS. Brian Dawkins went from talented young DB to elite player seemingly overnight. Great timing by the Football Gods in that case.

Greg Lewis is the new WRs coach. Can he make a difference with Josh Huff? What about the designers of the playbook, Doug Pederson and Frank Reich? Maybe their schematic changes will fit him perfectly. There is also the panic factor. Huff has to get going or he will get gone. That sense of desperation can bring out the best in a player. There are only so many “next years” before you find yourself out of the league. Huff has NFL ability. He’s got to show he can be a reliable performer, which is a lot easier said than done.

COMING UP

The supplemental draft begins at 1 p.m.

Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.