Will the Pats try to fill needs through the supplemental draft?

Will the Pats try to fill needs through the supplemental draft?

The NFL's supplemental draft will take place on Wednesday, and there seems to be more intrigue surrounding the current crop of available players than there has been in recent seasons. If a player is selected -- and there could be a couple -- it would be the first time a player has been taken in the supplemental draft since the Rams took tackle Isaiah Battle in 2015.

Before we get to the top players available, let's give a quick rundown of how the supplemental draft works -- and explain why it's relatively unlikely the Patriots come away with a new player at day's end. 

HOW IT WORKS
All teams are split into three groups, per NFL.com: Non-playoff teams that had six or fewer wins (let's call this Group 1); non-playoff teams that had more than six wins (Group 2); playoff teams (Group 3). Group 1 has priority over Groups 2 and 3. Group 2 has priority over Group 3. If there are same-round bids for a player by multiple teams within a group, then there is a lottery that determines priority.

What happens if multiple teams bid a pick from the same round? In that case, the league has a priority order it can defer to. 

All teams are split into three groups: Non-playoff teams that had six or fewer wins (let's call this Group 1); non-playoff teams that had more than six wins (Group 2); playoff teams (Group 3). Group 1 has priority over Groups 2 and 3. Group 2 has priority over Group 3. If there are same-round bids for a player by multiple teams within a group, then there is a lottery that determines priority.

Why does this mean the odds the Patriots will end up with a player is somewhat unlikely? If there's a player the Patriots like, they would have to out-bid other interested teams from Groups 1 and 2. And if Bill Belichick and his staff are vying for the same player with others in Group 3, they have to hope they get some good luck in the lottery. 

Given the value the Patriots place on their spring draft picks, it seems unlikely they'd be willing to part with a valuable selection in order to land a player who will be behind the eight ball once he reports to work. Getting up to speed after missing all of rookie minicamp, all of OTAs and mandatory minicamp would be an uphill climb . . . to say the least. 

WHO'S AVAILABLE
Players who become eligible for the NFL following the NFL Draft can be entered into the supplemental draft. Bernie Kosar (1985), Brian Bosworth (1987), Cris Carter (1987), Rob Moore (1990), Ahmad Brooks (2006), Terrelle Pryor (2011) and Josh Gordon (2012) are among the most well-known players to be taken in the supplemental draft. In 1989, a whopping three teams used first-round bids to take players: quarterback Steve Walsh (Cowboys); quarterback Tomm Rosenback (Cardinals); running back Bobby Humphrey (Broncos). In 1999, the Patriots used a fourth-round pick to acquire corner J'Juan Cherry.

Here's a look at the players available this year.

Sam Beal, CB, Western Michigan (6-foot-1, 178 pounds)
Beal could be the highest supplemental draft pick taken since the Browns scooped up Gordon with a second-round pick in 2012. Beal, who was reportedly in danger of being ruled academically ineligible for the upcoming season, carried nine more pounds when he was measured in the spring, according to NFL Media's Gil Brandt. Beal's length and athleticism (4.47-second 40-yard dash, 37-inch vertical leap, 126-inch broad, 4.09-second short shuttle) could make him intriguing for the Patriots. His three-cone was less than ideal (7.11 seconds), but he seems to be relatively polished as a defender. He was a second-team All-MAC selection last season, and against USC he picked off eventual No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold. All 32 NFL teams were in attendance for Beal's pro day. 

Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech (6-2, 194)
Alexander has the build to potentially make a move to safety if an NFL team wants to see him there. As a corner, he doesn't quite stack up with Beal athletically. Alexander ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash, a 4.38 short-shuttle and a 7.19 three-cone at his pro day last month. Alexander was productive in a good conference, though, recording seven picks and 17 breakups in three seasons. His size could entice a team to bid a Day 3 pick for his services in the supplemental draft. He was ruled academically ineligible for his senior season, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero.

Brandon Bryant, S, Mississippi State (5-11, 207)
There were 14 teams on hand for Bryant's pro day, according to NFL Media, but the Patriots weren't one of them. His change-of-direction numbers weren't anything to write home about (7.26-second three-cone, 4.23-second shuttle), but his 40 (4.45 seconds) and jumps (34-inch vertical, 123-inch broad) were impressive. An explosive player from an SEC program, Bryant could find himself added to a roster on Wednesday. He announced he was leaving the MSU program after being held out of spring workouts for academic reasons, according to NFL.com.