Only three players have been selected in the NFL supplemental draft since 2013. However, two of those came just last year, and when the league holds the 2019 Supplemental Draft on Wednesday, there's a decent chance at least two players could be selected, one of which could be of interest to the 49ers.
A little background: The supplemental draft is an option for draft-eligible players who did not declare for the regular NFL draft in April. Typically, players who declare for the supplemental draft do so due to unexpected eligibility issues at the collegiate level, such as those related to academics or discipline.
If a team selects a player in the supplemental draft, it forfeits its pick in that same round in the following NFL draft in April. For example, the New York Giants selected cornerback Sam Beal in the third round of the 2018 supplemental draft, and thus forfeited their third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
If the 49ers are going to select anyone in the 2019 Supplemental Draft on Wednesday, chances are it will be Washington State safety Jalen Thompson, who represents the most talented player available according to The Athletic's Dane Brugler.
Thompson is coming off a junior season in which he tallied 67 tackles, 10 passes defended and two interceptions. His sophomore season, he led the Cougars with 73 tackles and four picks. He's got great speed and athleticism, but at just 186 pounds, is on the smaller side for his position. Nonetheless, he doesn't shy away from physicality, but that can occasionally hamper his ability to wrap up.
Brugler compares Thompson to former Lions' Pro Bowl safety Glover Quin, and projects him to go in the third or fourth round of the 2019 Supplemental Draft on Wednesday and eventually ascend to starter level.
"If his character checks out," Brugler qualified, "Thompson is a player who can compete for a nickel role early in his NFL career and all the ingredients are there for him to be starting by Year Two."
Could Thompson be a fit for the 49ers? From a positional standpoint, at least, it certainly seems so.
Despite a loaded free-agent safety class and a draft class filled with promising prospects at the position, San Francisco declined to select a safety in the 2019 NFL Draft after re-signing Jimmie Ward to a one-year deal. Of course, the oft-injured Ward didn't take long to make that decision look questionable at best after he broke his collarbone in the first week of OTAs.
Former seventh-round draft pick Adrian Colbert is the back-up free safety on the roster, but he didn't exactly inspire confidence with his performance last season. Behind Colbert is Tarvarius Moore, who just made the positional change to safety after spending his rookie season at cornerback.
So, yes, the 49ers could use an influx of talent, youth and health at the same position Thompson plays. It's uncommon for teams to utilize the supplemental draft, but if San Francisco elects to do so Wednesday, it seems obvious who they'll be targeting, and why.