The NFL has reportedly made the decision to cancel the annual supplemental draft, a July event that allows prospects in unique situations to declare for the NFL and have the opportunity to be selected by one of 32 teams. You can read more about.
In the past, a collection of supplemental picks have gone on to enjoy productive NFL careers. Who were the best? We’re glad you asked. Here are the top 10 supplemental picks in league history.
10. Jared Gaither, OT, Maryland
Picked by: Baltimore Ravens, Round 5, 2007
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Declared academically ineligible
Gaither, the massive, 6-foot-9, 340-pounder from Maryland, bounced around the league after a scary injury in Baltimore with the Ravens in 2009, but he did an admirable job filling the massive vacancy left by future Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden’s retirement.
After a three-year stint with the Ravens and spending the entire 2010 campaign on injured reserve, Gaither played with the Chiefs and had a three-year stay with the Chargers. Altogether, he started 37 games in his NFL career, and was typically one of the steadier albeit unspectacular left tackles in the league.
9. Terrelle Pryor, QB/WR, Ohio State
Picked by: Oakland Raiders, Round 3, 2011
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Suspended by NCAA for improper benefits
The Raiders took a flier on the size/speed specimen in 2011, with plans for him as a quarterback after an illustrious career with the Buckeyes that included 57 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions. He enjoyed a decently long but strange career in the NFL in which he played with five different teams and changed positions after signing with the Browns during 2016’s free-agent period.
Pryor threw nine touchdowns and tossed 11 picks with the Raiders, and given his massive size and incendiary speed, a switch to wide receiver was logical. And while he never quite lived up to his high-school hype in the NFL, we have to hand it to Pryor for eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in 2017 as a wideout in Cleveland, in only his second season playing that position. He reeled in 77 passes on 140 targets that year, but injuries ultimately sapped some of his juice, and Pryor’s last season in 2018 featured just 22 catches and 252 yards receiving.
8. Bobby Humphrey, RB, Alabama
Picked by: Denver Broncos, Round 1, 1989
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Decided not to return for his final year of eligibility after the normal draft
Humphrey hit the ground running after going in the first round of the supplemental draft in 1989. With the Broncos, he rushed for 1,151 yards and followed with a 1,202-yard campaign at 4.2 yards per attempt in 1990, the latter year earning him a spot in the Pro Bowl. He became the first Bronco to run for 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons.
Weirdly, Humphrey held out during 1991 and didn’t report until near the end of the season. By then, former backup Gaston Green was thriving as the starter and had a 1,000-yard season of his own. After that, Humphrey played for the Dolphins and was efficient — 4.6 yards per carry in 1992 — but he only had 102 attempts on the season playing behind Mark Higgs.
7. Ahmad Brooks, LB, Virginia
Picked by: Cincinnati Bengals, Round 3, 2006
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Dismissed from college team
Brooks went in the third round of the 2006 supplemental draft and had an 11-year NFL career with the Bengals, 49ers, and Packers. A hulking, 6-4. 259-pound hybrid linebacker, Brooks didn’t erupt until he signed in San Francisco after being cut by Cincinnati in 2008.
With the 49ers, he played in 120 regular season games and tallied 51.5 sacks, 28 pass deflections, and 11 forced fumbles. He was a key cog on the Jim Harbaugh-led clubs that went to the Super Bowl and NFC title game in consecutive seasons. In fact, Brooks had 4.5 sacks in the 2013 playoffs.
6. Josh Gordon, WR, Baylor
Picked by: Cleveland Browns, Round 2, 2012
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Dismissed by team for failed marijuana test
Gordon gave us a glimpse of his transcendent — and I mean that — talent in 2013, when, as a 22-year-old, he led the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving in just 14 games while catching passes from Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer, a feat that doesn’t seem possible with everything considered. He was a first-team All-Pro that year, and rightfully so.
But Gordon’s issues with substance abuse have unfortunately followed him since entering the league and hindered his chances of ever fully reaching his ceiling again. However, after missing two full NFL seasons due to suspension, he averaged over 18 yards per catch in 2017 and 2018 with the Browns and Patriots, and Gordon won a Super Bowl with New England.
In 2019, he caught seven passes for 139 yards with the Seahawks but was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy in December.
5. Mike Wahle, OG, Navy
Picked by: Green Bay Packers, Round 2, 1998
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Suspended by NCAA for testing positive for steroids
After going in the second round of the 1998 supplemental draft, Wahle went on to have an 11-year NFL tenure which included 152 games played and an All-Pro nod in 2005 with the Panthers.
But it was with those good Packers teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s in which Wahle cut his teeth. He was the club’s full-time starter from 2001 to 2004 before signing in Carolina.
4. Rob Moore, WR, Syracuse
Picked by: New York Jets, Round 1, 1990
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Did not declare for normal draft on time
Moore went in the first round of the 1990 supplemental draft and flew under the radar for five seasons with the Jets, steadily improving most of his statistics each season before signing with the Cardinals in 1995 at age 27. Then he really took off.
After a 900-plus yard campaign in his debut season in the desert, Moore exploded with 1,584 yards in 1997, a total that led the league and accounted for a massive 40% of the Cardinals’ receiving yards. He was named first-team All-Pro after that season, and his 208 targets that year remain the most in NFL history since the statistic officially began in 1992.
In 10 years in the league, Moore amassed 9,368 yards and scored 49 touchdowns. Rock solid career.
3. Bernie Kosar, QB, Miami
Picked by: Cleveland Browns, Round 1, 1985
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Graduated after his junior year
Kosar entered the league with plenty of fanfare after an illustrious two-year career in Miami with the Hurricanes in which the team won its first national title and won the Fiesta Bowl the next season.
After plenty of controversy, the Browns were able to pick Kosar in the first round of the 1985 supplemental draft, and by his second season, he met his hype, as Cleveland went 12-4, and the young quarterback averaged 7.3 yards per attempt with a 83.8 passer rating, the seventh-highest rate in the league.
He twice made the Pro Bowl — in 1987 and 1989 — and threw for over 20,000 yards in his NFL career. After nine years in Cleveland, Kosar played with the Cowboys for one season and finished with a three-year stint in Miami with the Dolphins.
2. Jamal Williams, DT, Oklahoma State
Picked by: San Diego Chargers, Round 2, 1998
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Ruled academically ineligible
Williams is probably the most underrated supplemental pick in NFL history, seeing as though he manned the gritty, easy-to-overlook nose tackle spot for 13 years and was an All-Pro three times, from 2004 to 2006 with the Chargers.
Twice he hit the double-digit mark in tackles for loss and ended his career with 55 of those impact takedowns. The 6-3, 350-ish pounder was the anchor on the Chargers defensive line for over a decade and played one season in Denver with the Broncos. While not glamorous, Williams long was an immovable force in the middle.
1. Cris Carter, WR, Ohio State
Picked by: Philadelphia Eagles, Round 4, 1987
Reason for entering supplemental draft: Signed with an agent
As the only former supplemental draft pick in the Hall of Fame, this was an easy selection for the top spot. Carter had three productive but tumultuous seasons with the team that drafted him in the fourth round in 1987, and after his release from the Eagles, the Vikings claimed him in 1990. The rest is history.
Carter had a phenomenal run of eight-straight 1,000-plus yard seasons — which justifiably ended with Pro Bowl selections — and a pair of first-team All-Pro distinctions in 1994 and 1999. He once led the league in receptions and three times had the most receiving touchdowns in football. His 130 career receiving scores still rank fourth in NFL history, and he’s one of 18 pass-catchers with 13,000 or more yards in his career.