Clemson Tigers offensive tackle Isaiah Battle will enter the NFL Supplemental Draft, the school announced on Thursday. Battle cites family matters as the biggest reason for foregoing another season with Clemson, saying it is in his best interest to enter the NFL sooner rather than later.
"I have some family matters to address, with a child due this summer, and I feel it is in my best interest to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft," Battle said in a statement, "I want to thank everyone at Clemson, especially Coach Swinney and the assistant coaches, for what they have done for me the last three years."
Battle played in 27 games for the Tigers over the last three seasons, starting 16 of them. Last season, he started 11 of 12 games and was a rock on Clemson's offensive line. One of the biggest assets of that team going forward was its strong offensive line, and with Battle leaving that unit takes a massive hit.
Obviously, this does nothing to diminish the other solid starters who are returning, but true freshman Mitch Hyatt will likely be his replacement and he's a wild card at this stage. A strong senior season for Battle likely would have earned him a premium draft slot for teams looking for help at the offensive tackle spot.
Now, entering the supplemental draft, it's unclear where NFL teams would place his value. With training camp coming up, there's obviously room for him to find a team and compete, but most teams have already either found starters or determined who will fight it out for starting spots at their various offensive line spots.
The supplemental draft is held annually in July, though no exact date has been set for 2015's just yet. The point of the draft is to allow players who did not enter or were not eligible for the regular draft to be selected by teams.
If a team is interested in drafting a player, they submit the player's name and the corresponding round in which they would take them. Teams are grouped by a win/loss record, so the team with the worst record and the highest bid will be awarded the player. They will lose their pick from that round in the following year's regular NFL Draft.
Battle becomes the fourth player linked to the supplemental draft this offseason. He joins West Georgia defensive tackle Dalvon Stuckey, West Georgia defensive end Darrius Caldwell and North Carolina Central wide receiver Adrian Wilkins as players who intend to enter, as noted by NFL.com. The last player selected in the supplemental draft was wide receiver Josh Gordon in 2012, when the Cleveland Browns committed a second-round pick to acquire him.