clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The 10 best players ever selected at the NFL Supplemental Draft

Getting to 10 was a bit of a stretch, honestly.

NFL Class of 2013 Enshrinement Ceremony Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The NFL’s Supplemental Draft is a little-used pipeline for professional talent. Since 2012, only one player has made the summer jump from the NCAA to the NFL — little-used offensive tackle Isaiah Battle.

But the 2018 version could be a game-changer. Three college standouts have the chance to hear their names called Wednesday. If they do, they’ll all be chasing one man — Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.

Carter is the most famous player to come out of the bonus draft and the only one of those 43 picks to make it to the NFL Hall of Fame. But while he’s the standard bearer for the supplemental draft, there are a handful of others who made major impacts with their time in the league. Eight of those 43 players made it to at least one Pro Bowl in their careers — an 18.4 percent success rate that’s actually higher than the roughly 14 percent average for players selected in the spring’s traditional seven-round draft.

So which of these caught-in-the-gears prospects had the biggest impact on the league after taking the long way to get there? Here are the top 10 players to come out of the NFL Supplemental Draft.

1. Cris Carter, WR, Philadelphia Eagles/Minnesota Vikings

Carter’s presence in the 1987 supplemental draft was overshadowed by Oklahoma linebacker/Bo Jackson murder victim Brian Bosworth, but he’d turn into one of the biggest bargains in league history. The Eagles swapped out a fourth-round pick to select Carter, who had been ruled ineligible for his senior year by the NCAA after signing with an agent. While he’d be cut by the Eagles after three seasons after a dispute with head coach Buddy Ryan, he blossomed both on and off the field with the Minnesota Vikings, where he was an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro.

2. Jamal Williams, DT, San Diego Chargers/Denver Broncos

The 348-pound Williams was a fixture in the middle of the Chargers’ defensive line for 12 seasons, peaking with a four-year run from 2005 to 2008 that saw him earn All-Pro honors three times. The run-stuffing tackle was an immovable obstacle up front, commanding double-teams and leading one of the league’s top rushing defenses.

3. Bernie Kosar, QB, Cleveland Browns/Dallas Cowboys/Miami Dolphins

The last passer the Browns drafted that even remotely resembled a franchise quarterback was Kosar, who spent 8.5 years as the team’s starter while posting a 53-51-1 record with Cleveland. Though he kicked off his career with strong performances in 1986 and 1987 (20-8 as a starter, 39 touchdown passes), then failed to reach those heights as the Browns slid backward toward mediocrity as his tenure wore on.

4. Rob Moore, WR, New York Jets/Arizona Cardinals

Moore was a dynamic and consistent target throughout his decade in the league, never recording fewer than 627 receiving yards in a season. He began his career with the Jets, who made him the top overall pick in the 1990 supplemental draft, but he may be best known for his time with the Cardinals, where he led the league with 1,584 yards in 1997.

5. Ahmad Brooks, LB, Cincinnati Bengals/San Francisco 49ers/Green Bay Packers

Brooks was dismissed from Virginia despite his All-American status thanks to a combination of off-field issues that pushed him to the secondary draft and a third-round selection by the Bengals. He never really found his footing in Cincinnati, but the 49ers’ gamble on his long-term potential paid off when he developed into a full-time starter in his fifth year as a pro, adding a versatile pass-rushing threat at linebacker for an ascending San Francisco team. He was named to his only Pro Bowl in 2013 after an 8.5-sack, 60 tackle campaign for the NFC Championship Game’s runner-up.

6. Mike Wahle, OL, Green Bay Packers/Carolina Panthers

Wahle was ruled ineligible for his final year at the U.S. Naval Academy after testing positive for steroids, but the Midshipmen’s loss was the Packers’ gain. The 6’6 blocker took a couple years to find his groove, but eventually became an above-average space-clearing guard in both Green Bay and Carolina.

7. Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns

There’s a sizable dropoff in overall contributions after the top six, which pits explosive short-term performances against less impressive long-term careers. Gordon still has the capability to shoot way up this list, but his inconsistent, issue-marred start with the Browns has blunted the impact he’s been able to make on the league. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2013 after leading the league in receiving yards, but repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy have limited him to just 10 games in the four seasons that followed.

8. Bobby Humphrey, RB, Denver Broncos/Miami Dolphins

Humphrey’s fuse burned fast in a career that lasted just 51 games. He kicked off his career with 1,100-plus rushing yards in back-to-back seasons, emerged as an important cog for an AFC West contender ... and then held out for the first 12 games of his third year as a pro, lost his starting role in Denver, and recorded just 33 carries in 1991. He was traded to the Dolphins in 1992 and wouldn’t log another NFL touch after 1993.

9. Darren Mickell, DE, Kansas City Chiefs/New Orleans Saints/San Diego Chargers/Oakland Raiders

Mickell put together a solid nine-year career as a useful defensive end after being snapped up by the Chiefs in the 1992 Supplemental Draft. His best season came with Kansas City in 1994 when he recorded seven sacks and forced four fumbles for a playoff team.

10. Terrelle Pryor, QB/WR, Oakland Raiders/Cleveland Browns/Washington/New York Jets

Pryor beats out players like Jared Gaither, Dave Brown, and Steve Walsh for the final spot on the list thanks to one breakout season at wide receiver and the fact he’s still got time to prove last year’s disappointing campaign was an outlier. He had a 9:12 TD:INT ratio as a starting quarterback in Oakland, but reinvented himself as a wide receiver after washing out with the Raiders, Seahawks, Chiefs, and Bengals behind center. The move paid off with a 1,007-yard season with a hapless Browns club in 2016, but he backslid last fall after making just 20 receptions in nine games with Washington.