The supplemental draft is coming up July 16, and now that we’ve previewed the players available this year, I thought we’d take a minute to compare players in the league who entered the league as supplemental draft picks. 10 is the player who has had the best career; 1 is the player who had the least success on the pro level.
10 – NT Jamal Williams, Chargers (2nd round pick, 1998) – Williams has been the stalwart of San Diego’s defensive line since joining the team via the supplemental draft. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time all-pro who consistently wreaks havoc with his ability to clog the middle and get pressure that stymies the opposition running game. To run a 3-4 defense successfully, you need a run stopper, and Williams has been one of the very best in the league at that for more than a decade now.
9 – none
8 – OG Mike Wahle, Seahawks (2nd round pick, 1998) – Like his supplemental classmate Williams, Wahle has translated his second-round selection by Green Bay into a solid career. Wahle remains a starter in Seattle now after productive stops with the Packers and Panthers, where he made his lone Pro Bowl and won all-pro honors in 2005. Wahle has had a strong career and still has the ability to start in the league.
7 – OT Jared Gaither, Ravens (5th round pick, 2007) – The Ravens picked Gaither, a local product from Maryland, and quickly developed him into a starting left tackle. Because they took the risk on him, the Ravens now have bookend tackles in Gaither and Michael Oher. Gaither’s huge size and good movement make him a prototypical left tackle, and so far he’s proven to be a worthy successor to Jonathan Ogden.
6 – none
5 – none
4 – OT Milford Brown (6th round pick, 2002) – Brown, who is still looking for 2009 employment, started more than 50 games after the Texans selected him in the supplemental draft. While he hasn’t been a standout, anytime a team gets that kind of use out of any 6th-rounder, it’s a victory. Brown certainly gave the Texans more than Tony Hollings, a 2003 second-round supplemental choice who did next to nothing in the NFL.
3 – DB Paul Oliver, Chargers (4th round pick, 2007) – Oliver missed his rookie season with an injury and played as a backup most of last year, although he did get two starts. He’s in the mix for San Diego, but he has yet to establish himself as a starting caliber player. Still, he’s young enough to get a chance going forward.
2 – none
1 – LB Ahmad Brooks, 49ers (3rd round pick, 2006) – Brooks was a first-round quality talent with a ton of baggage, and the fit in Cincinnati wasn’t good because the Bengals already had more than enough talented but troubled players. Brooks was one of the team’s final cuts in training camp last year, and he landed with San Francisco but didn’t play. Maybe Mike Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker, can help Brooks unlock his potential.