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Supplemental Draft 101

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Normally, the Supplemental Draft gets little attention. It comes and goes every year with few giving it any thought. However, for the first time since 2012 when WR Josh Gordon was eligible, it may actually be interesting. That being said here’s a quick tutorial on the Supplemental Draft.

What is the Supplemental Draft?

The Supplemental Draft is a way for players who are declared ineligible for the upcoming college football season to enter the NFL after the deadline to enter the regular NFL Draft has passed. Players seeking entry into the Supplemental Draft must have been eligible for the most recent NFL Draft. Additionally, players must file a petition and be declared eligible for the Supplemental Draft by the NFL.

How does the Supplemental Draft work?

All the teams in the NFL are divided into three separate groups based on how they finished in the previous season. The first group is for teams that won six or fewer games. The second group is for teams that won more than six games but did not make the playoffs. The final group includes all of the playoff teams. This means the groupings for this year’s Supplemental Draft are:

Group 1:

Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins.

Group 2:

Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.

Group 3:

Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings.

This means Group 1 includes 11 teams, Group 2 includes 9 teams and Group 3 includes the 12 playoff teams.

With the groupings set, a weighted lottery determines the draft order within each group. This means the teams with worse records have a higher likelihood of landing the top pick within the group. For example, Cleveland has the highest likelihood of getting the top pick but can’t draft lower than 11. Similarly, Washington and Tennessee each have the highest likelihood of drafting first in their group, 12 and 21, respectively.

After the draft order is determined within each group, teams submit bids to the Commissioner indicating which player they are interested in and what round they would like to take that player. The team that puts the highest bid on a player is granted the rights to that player. If more than one team puts in a bid for a player in the same round, the team with the highest pick in that round wins and is granted that player’s rights.

However, if a team is awarded a player in the Supplemental Draft they must forfeit the corresponding draft pick in the next regular NFL Draft. For example, if the Colts are awarded a player with a Round 6 bid, the Colts would then forfeit their Round 6 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

When is the Supplemental Draft?

The NFL recently announced the 2018 Supplemental Draft will take place on July 11th.