Western Michigan CB Sam Beal to enter NFL supplemental draft

Western Michigan defensive back <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/258157/" data-ylk="slk:Sam Beal">Sam Beal</a> (R) intercepts a pass intended for Southern California wide receiver <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/college-football/players/276495/" data-ylk="slk:Jalen Greene">Jalen Greene</a> during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP)
Western Michigan defensive back Sam Beal (R) intercepts a pass intended for Southern California wide receiver Jalen Greene during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP)

Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal is filing to enter the NFL’s 2018 supplemental draft, Broncos coach Tim Lester told Yahoo Sports.

Beal is entering the supplemental draft because he wouldn’t be eligible to play next year due to academic credit shortcomings. Beal is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back who an NFL scout told Yahoo Sports is considered a second-round talent. He’d already been tabbed as one of the top prospects from the Group of Five for the 2019 NFL draft, as he’d have been classified as one of the country’s top corner prospects for the upcoming college season.

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“He was a joy to coach,” Lester told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview. “I wanted to coach him one more year. When it comes to talent and work ethic, he’s one of the best I’ve ever been around. I’m looking forward to watching him at the next level.”

Beal will continue to train at Western Michigan and the school plans to eventually host his pro day. Lester specified that Beal didn’t flunk out of school, but his eligibility was compromised because he didn’t meet minimum credit specifications. “The bottom line is he was forced to make this decision,” Lester said. “His GPA isn’t bad. We did everything we could to try [to help him]. We made sure we did everything in his best interest.”

Beal will be an intriguing prospect for teams. He earned first-team All-MAC from Pro Football Focus, as he specializes in press coverage and has the prototype body for the modern NFL corner. He broke up 10 passes and picked off two others. During Western Michigan’s undefeated regular season under former coach P.J. Fleck in 2016, Beal broke up eight passes. Among Beal’s two interceptions last year was a pick of USC’s Sam Darnold in Western Michigan’s game in Los Angeles last year when he ripped the ball from Trojan receiver Jalen Greene along the sideline. “He’s a unique combination of big and quick twitch,” Lester said. “He has great length and speed, and that’s what everyone looks for.”

Beal is the second talented defensive back to enter this year’s supplemental draft. Virginia Tech defensive back Adonis Alexander announced late last week he’d also be entering because of academic eligibility issues. Alexander is also considered a player who is talented enough to go in the second round.

Whether either player ends up going that high is difficult to project, as the supplemental draft is notoriously tricky to predict according to one scout. The supplemental draft consists of players who’ve had a circumstance change after the date to declare for the April draft. The team that selects a player in the supplemental draft forfeits the corresponding pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

No date has been set for the supplemental draft, but it typically takes place in July. This will be the most intriguing supplemental draft since Cleveland took Josh Gordon with a second-round choice in 2012. Only one player has been picked since in the supplemental draft – offensive lineman Isaiah Battle in the fifth round from Clemson in 2015.

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