The New England Patriots have been pretty busy this offseason. They have signed notable free agents like Martellus Bennett or Chris Long, while also adding 17 rookies either via the draft or via subsequent free agency.
Next week, the team will have the chance to add more players when the NFL’s supplemental draft takes place: on July 14 at 1:00 p.m. ET, clubs can select underclassmen who were either not part of the normal draft process (be it because of personal matters or having missed the application deadline) or have suddenly become ineligible to play the next college season.
The following players have been declared eligible to be selected next week (via Ian Rapoport):
Virginia Tech LS Eddie D’Antuono
Purdue DT Ra’Zahn Howard
Sam Houston State RB Jalen Overstreet
Mississippi DB Tee Shepard
Calgary (Canada) WR Rashaun Simonise
Concordia (AL) DE Cameron Walton
In the supplemental draft, each team has the chance to anonymously place a bid on a player in the form of a 2017 draft selection. The highest bid placed on a player gets said player. Consequently, that team’s 2017 draft pick will be forfeited as it has already been spent in the supplemental draft. For example, if the Patriots place a fourth round bid on D’Antuono and get the player, they won’t have a selection in 2017’s fourth round.
There is one distinct difference to the regular draft, though. While the draft order is based on the one used back in late April, it is not the same. The picking order gets drawn to determine which team picks at which spot. First, the worst 10 teams get drawn, then teams 11-20, and finally the 12 playoff teams. This means that the Patriots could pick anywhere from selection #21 to selection #32.
Should we expect New England to spend one of its 2017 draft picks in the 2016 supplemental draft? No, we should not. The Patriots, despite currently having one open spot on their team, already have one of the deepest rosters in the league. Therefore, spending one of next year’s seven draft picks on one of the six players above would arguably not improve the team much.
Since the first supplemental draft took place in 1977, New England has been awarded two players. Wide receiver Chy Davidson was taken with an 11th round selection in 1981, while defensive back J’Juan Cherry was worth a fourth round pick in 1999. Neither player ever appeared in a game for the Patriots.