Football

Preview of 2018 NFL supplemental draft: Western Michigan CB Sam Beal among legitimate prospects

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP / USA Today Sports)    —   So you think football season is over, at least until training camps open later this month? OK, you’re right. But if you want really obscure, byzantine NFL news, we give you: The 2018 NFL supplemental draft.

If you’ve never heard of it, there’s a reason. Only two players — though one was Browns receiver Josh Gordon — since 2011 have been selected in the supplemental draft. It is held for players whose college status changes after the April draft is held. Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar (1985) and Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter (1987) were taken in the supplemental draft.

Four players this year have applied due to academic issues — Virginia Tech corner Adonis Alexander, Western Michigan corner Sam Beal, Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter. The draft will be held Wednesday. Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu, who was suspended indefinitely this spring, has also entered.

NFL teams do not have to participate in the supplemental draft, but here’s how it works.

Teams are broken up into three groups — those with six or fewer wins, the rest of the non-playoff teams, and the 12 playoff teams. Each group draws for priority with a weighted system (similar to the NBA draft lottery). Teams then submit a round they would take a given player. If more than one team submits the same round, the player goes to the one with the established priority. Any team taking a player loses its corresponding pick in the 2019 draft. If no one submits a bid on the player, he becomes a free agent.

The following is a breakdown of this year’s five eligible players:

Adonis Alexander

A 6-3, 207-pound corner known for his play in zone coverage. He was being looked at as a future first- or second-round pick after making 55 tackles and four interceptions as a freshman at Virginia Tech. But he made just 27 tackles and one interception in eight games as a junior, was caught using marijuana in 2016 and suspended two more games in 2017 for violating team rules. Alexander is projected to be selected, but not before the fifth round.

Sam Beal

He was a lightly recruit receiver when he arrived at Western Michigan but is considered the best prospect available after making two interceptions and breaking up 10 passes in 10 games last season. At 6-1 and 185 pounds, he is known for his man coverage. Beal, who had all 32 teams at his workout, could warrant as high as a third-round pick.

Brandon Bryant

Another physical specimen (6 feet, 215), he ran a 4.24 40-yard dash and dead-lifted 600 pounds. But he had his best season a redshirt freshman with 1½ sacks and three interceptions, petering out to 32 tackles and one pick in 11 games last season with Mississippi State. He may be a better athlete than a football player. Bryant is considered the least likely player to get selected. Of the 14 teams that attended Bryant’s workout on June 25, he said the Colts and Ravens were his favorites, according to NFL.com.

“Those teams really stuck out to me the most. I had a great conversation with those guys,” Bryant said. “But wherever I get drafted or if it’s as a free agent, I just need an opportunity and I’ll make the most of it.”

Martayveus Carter

Carter (5-11, 200) is from East Chicago, Ind., and became a record-setting running back at Division II Grand Valley State. He rushed for a school record with 1,908 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore, earning multiple All-America honors. Injuries limited him to 931 yards last season, and he entered the supplemental draft when he was ruled ineligible.

Bright Ugwoegbu

He was added to the draft June 25 after being suspended indefinitely by Oregon State. He has started 20 games at outside linebacker in his career, recording 55 tackles and one sack last season. As a sophomore, he had 54 tackles and 5½ sacks. He has been projected as a possible sixth- or seventh-round pick.

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NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL Players Association filed a grievance with the league on Tuesday challenging its national anthem policy.

The union says that the new policy, which the league imposed without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on players’ rights.

In May, the NFL approved its national anthem policy at its owners meetings in Atlanta. The policy allows players to protest during the national anthem by staying in the locker room, but forbids them from sitting or taking a knee if they’re on the field or the sidelines.

Teams will be subject to fines if players don’t comply and will have the option of punishing players.

When the league announced the policy, Commissioner Roger Goodell called it a compromise aimed at putting the focus back on football after a tumultuous year in which television ratings dipped nearly 10 percent; some blamed the protests for such a drop. The union said at that time that it would file a grievance against any change in the collective bargaining agreement.

The union said Tuesday it has proposed having its executive committee talking to the NFL instead of proceeding with litigation. The union said the NFL has agreed to those discussions.

The NFL did not immediately comment about the union’s action.

In 2016, then-49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality and social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem, and the demonstration spread to other players and teams. It became one of the most controversial and sensitive issues in the NFL, with players saying their messages last year were being misconstrued, while others — including President Donald Trump — called them unpatriotic. Trump even said NFL owners should fire any player who refused to stand during the anthem.

Following those comments, more than 200 players protested during the anthem that weekend before the number of protesters dwindled as the season progressed.

“We’re here for a bigger platform,” Raiders tight end Jared Cook said during the spring. “We’re not just athletes. We’re people that live this. It’s people in our neighborhood, it’s people that we grew up with, it’s people that we know who are actually living through these circumstances. So when we speak on it, it’s not like we’re just speaking out of the side of our neck. It’s things that actually touch home and things that we can actually relate to.

“All I have to say is, I just think it’s sad that it’s veered from something that stood for good and the whole narrative has changed into something that’s negative when that was not what it was initially about in the first place.”

The NFL started requiring players to be on the field for the anthem in 2009 — the year it signed a marketing deal with the military.

“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand,” Goodell said at the May meetings, when he dismissed concerns about the lack of union involvement by contending the league met with countless players over the past year.

“We’ve been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices,” the commissioner added, “but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on.”

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For more AP NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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