2018 NFL Supplemental Draft: Here are five teams that could most use defensive back help
These teams might want to look into drafting Sam Beal, Adonis Alexander or Brandon Bryant
The NFL's passing renaissance has given credence to the famous football adage "you can never have too many cornerbacks." And it makes sense simply from a defensive personnel standpoint, with the nickel corner now considered a full-time starter.
Western Michigan's Sam Beal is the best prospect in the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft, and Virginia Tech's Adonis Alexander had flashes of brilliance early in his career at Virginia Tech. The same is true for safety Brandon Bryant out of Mississippi State.
We rarely see anyone picked in the supplemental draft (it hasn't happened since 2015), but there's a chance we'll have multiple selections this time around. The supplemental draft will take place on July 11 at 1 p.m. ET.
Which teams are in need of help in their defensive backfield and could use one of these three prospects? Let's take a look.
The Colts lost their most productive cornerback from 2017 -- Rashaan Melvin -- in free agency. He had three picks and defended 13 passes en route to one of the most unheralded seasons from a corner last year. On paper, 2017 second-round selection Quincy Wilson is now their top corner. Behind him on the secondary depth chart are Kenny Moore, Chris Milton, Nate Hairston, D.J. White, and Pierre Desir. Hairston and Moore flashed at times a season ago, but clearly the Colts need more defensive back reinforcement. At safety, with T.J. Green and Clayton Geathers behind last year's first-round selection Malik Hooker, Indianapolis isn't as in a dire of a situation at safety. GM Chris Ballard did an admirable a fine job building the offensive and defensive lines in the 2018. The secondary remains a huge issue.
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Wait, the Jaguars could use a cornerback like Beal or Alexander? Yep. Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye were the NFL's best cornerback tandem in 2017, and I wouldn't doubt Ramsey speaking to that directly this year. However, after losing reliable slot corner Aaron Colvin on the free-agent market, Jacksonville's cornerback group consists of 2017 seventh-rounder Jaylen Myrick -- who actually played decently well in limited action as a rookie -- 2013 first-round flop D.J. Hayden, and a host of unproven former undrafted free agents. Even with one of the best defensive lines in football, the Jaguars should seriously consider their options at cornerback in the supplemental draft. The safety spot is much more secure in Jacksonville with entrenched and steady starters Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson, who'll mentor 2018 second-round pick Ronnie Harrison from Alabama.
As we came to expect, Marcus Peters dominated in 2017 ... but now he's on the Rams. In steps Kendall Fuller, who was well on his way to stardom in Washington before being traded to the Chiefs. He's Kansas City's top dog at corner yet the depth behind him is significantly lacking. Third-round selection Steven Nelson is a slot corner and has had major ups and downs, and David Amerson had his career season in 2015. He's coming off a season-ending injury in 2017. The team did draft Tremon Smith in the sixth round, and Arrion Springs is a talented undrafted free agent. Both Beal and Alexander had moments of immense promise while in man coverage in college, and Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton leans on his cornerback's ability to man up typically more than any other DC in the NFL so either of those supplemental draft prospects would be worth a look for the Chiefs front office.
Patrick Peterson is the cornerstone of the Cardinals secondary and remains one of the league's best corners. Arizona does not have a host of secondary talent behind him. Jamar Taylor will be the team's No. 2, and he has gotten on track over the past two seasons following a disappointing start to the beginning of his pro career after being the No. 54 overall selection in the 2013 draft. Bene Benwikere played 11 snaps last season. Brandon Williams played one. Christian Campbell, the club's sixth-round pick in 2018, is a long, fluid cover man but shouldn't be relied upon to deal with twitchy wideouts, particularly not in Year One. Budda Baker is an emerging star at safety, but the Cardinals don't have much depth at that position either with soon-to-be 34-year-old Antoine Bethea the other starter, so Bryant wouldn't be a bad option later in the supplemental draft.
Tre'Davious White had a Defensive Rookie of the Year caliber season in 2017, finishing second in the voting to the deserving Saints rookie Marshon Lattimore. E.J. Gaines, who played well but couldn't stay healthy, was signed by the Browns in free agency, and the Bills added Vontae Davis to be his replacement on the outside. At this point in his career, on a zone-heavy team like Buffalo, Davis is an enigma as he'll return from a groin injury that hampered his 2017 campaign and was at his peak as an elite player from 2011 to 2015 as predominantly a man-to-man specialist. After him, the Bills' cornerback depth chart is average at best and is lead by Chiefs castoff Phillip Gaines. The team picked small-school star Taron Johnson in hopes of him winning the nickel corner role and did ink productive undrafted free agents in Levi Wallace from Alabama and Ryan Carter from Clemson. Buffalo has an extra fourth-round pick in 2019 thanks to last year's trade of Reggie Ragland.
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