The 2018 NFL supplemental draft came to a close Wednesday, with multiple players being selected for the first time since 2010, when fullback Harvey Unga and nose tackle Josh Brent went in the seventh round to the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, respectively.
Here’s a review of the Wednesday’s moves:
Third round: CB Sam Beal, Western Michigan to the New York Giants
Analysis: There are questions surrounding both of New York’s starting corners, and Beal offers another talented body in case either fails to return to form. Eli Apple, a first-round pick in 2016, is coming off a disastrous season in which the 22-year-old was benched several times, suspended to end the season and team leader Landon Collins openly questioned his professionalism. Meanwhile, Janoris Jenkins — a 29-year-old with a Pro Bowl pedigree — is also coming off a bit of a down year in which he was criticized for his inconsistent effort.
While Apple has shown signs of getting it this offseason — he’s saying all the right things and has been harping on the importance of staying positive — Jenkins’ offseason has been eventful, as his brother has been charged for the aggravated manslaughter of a hip-hop producer at Jenkins’ home. Unless new coach Pat Shurmur has some tricks to keep Jenkins focused that former coach Ben McAdoo didn’t — which isn’t out of the question given McAdoo’s inability to command the locker room — there’s a chance Jenkins will be distracted this season.
The addition of Beal brings a young, talented body to the position, someone whose coverage ability and willingness to fight for the ball in the air could make him an immediate contributor. Beal could have been a second- or first-round pick had he remained eligible for the 2019 draft, sources around the league told Yahoo Sports. So the feeling here is that the Giants’ decision to surrender a 2019 third-rounder for a big corner (6-foot, 185 pounds) who fits their physical prerequisites for the position is a sound gamble.
Sixth round: CB Adonis Alexander, Virginia Tech to the Washington Redskins
Analysis: I really like this selection for the Redskins. There were some teams across the league that put big grades on Alexander due to his size (6-2, 194 pounds), ball skills and potential as a development press corner, but concerns about his maturity and a slow 40 (4.64) at his pro day contributed to him being taken in the sixth round.
There’s a belief that a lack of prep time contributed to his slow 40, and Alexander was honest about the academic failings that led to him being ruled ineligible for what would have been his senior season at Virginia Tech.
It’s worth noting that the Redskins had an inside track on Alexander; a year ago they hired Torrian Gray as a defensive backs coach, a man who coached Alexander during his freshman All-American season at Virginia Tech in 2015. It’s safe to assume Gray knows all the skeletons in Alexander’s closet, and it’s certainly a good sign that the staff at Virginia Tech appeared to like Alexander, too.
There are enough red flags here to keep this pick from being an outright slam dunk, but Washington has all the mechanisms in place — like a position coach he respects and strong leadership at his position (hello D.J. Swearinger) — to get the most out of Alexander, who provides short-term depth and long-term potential for a team that lost two capable corners in Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason.
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