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Giants, Redskins pick up talent in NFL Supplemental Draft

Sports Xchange - Thursday 12th July, 2018

In today's pass-happy era, one can never have enough defensive backs.

That likely was the mindset that led NFC East rivals New York and Washington to invest third- and sixth-round selections in the NFL's Supplemental Draft, making it the first time since 2010 that multiple players were picked in the league's annual second-chance draft.

The Giants invested an early pick -- technically the third selection of the third round of the draft -- into the draft's top-rated prospect, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal.

Washington, which was slotted 20th, selected Virginia Tech defensive back Adonis Alexander three rounds later.

With the selections, both clubs forfeit the corresponding selections in next spring's draft.

Once the players come to a financial agreement with the clubs, they are eligible to practice and potentially play immediately.

Beal joins a Giants secondary that could use help on the perimeter, as well as one suddenly facing the possibility of losing standout Janoris Jenkins, given his recent off-field issues.

While lacking ideal straight-line speed to remain at cornerback, Alexander is a quality player, showing instincts, agility and physicality as a hitter. At minimum he should help Washington's special teams, and given the club's struggles with open field tackling in the back end in recent years, Alexander could get an opportunity to help quickly, perhaps back at safety where he played early on with the Hokies.

In a reflection of Beal's rare talent (at least among recent supplemental draft prospects), representatives from all 32 teams attended Beal's personal Pro Day workout on June 28. There, the 6-foot, 178-pounder showed off NFL-caliber athleticism, registering a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, a vertical jump of 37 inches along with a broad jump of 10-6. He clocked a 4.09 in the short shuttle and 7.11 in the 3-cone drill.

Beal's greatest asset is his natural cover skills due to an exciting combination of length and fluid athleticism. He uses his long arms to corral receivers off the line of scrimmage, limiting their ability to get a clean release and choking passing lanes as routes progress. He has light feet and loose hips, allowing him to change directions smoothly to effectively stick to the hip of receivers.

While intriguing, Beal remains a relatively raw prospect who needs to get stronger and more physical as a tackler. He is willing to lower a shoulder into ball-carriers to create a pop, but needs to do a better job of extending his arms and wrapping up.

While Beal plays with good timing and competitiveness on 50-50 balls, one area he (and many other defensive backs) can improve is his hands. Beal turned just two of the 10 passes broken up a year ago into interceptions.

Beal started 23 of 25 games for the Broncos the last two seasons for a Western Michigan program that has quietly churned out seven NFL draft picks the last three years, including playmaking wideout Corey Davis, whom Beal battled against daily in practice. Davis was selected No. 5 overall by the Tennessee Titans in 2017.

Alexander (6-2, 196 pounds) saw action at safety and cornerback for Virginia Tech, a program well-respected for its consistent production of NFL prospects. Alexander projects best to the former in the NFL due to his lack of straight-line speed, clocking in at 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, a league source shared with NFLDraftScout.com.

Alexander has the long arms and tapered, athletic frame scouts are looking for and he accelerates smoother on the field than his clocked time suggests. He is more of a downhill thumper than a true cover safety, providing a different element than 2018 fourth-round pick Troy Apke.

The other three players eligible for Wednesday's special case draft -- Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter and Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu -- are now considered street free agents and can be signed by any club.

The supplemental draft is very different from the media bonanza that occurs each spring. It is carried out via e-mail among teams and is not televised. The selection order is different as well.

The teams are slotted into three groups based on their won/loss percentage the previous year and are then placed in a lottery with the official order generally not being released to the public.

NFLDraftScout.com learned, however, that the Oakland Raiders "won" this year's supplemental draft lottery and had the first pick Wednesday. The Raiders were followed by the New York Jets, Giants, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos, according to a league source.

NFLDraftScout.com also confirmed that the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles did, indeed, get the 32nd overall pick.

The supplemental draft was originally created for players who had lost their eligibility between the primary NFL Draft in April and the beginning of the next season. Typically they are players who ran afoul of the law or failed to keep up with their academic obligations.

A total of 45 players have been selected since the draft's inception in 1977 and there have been some very good players selected during that time, including Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter (Philadelphia, 1987) as well as quarterback Bernie Kosar (Cleveland, 1985), fellow pass catchers Rob Moore (New York Jets, 1990) and Josh Gordon (Cleveland, 2012) and nose guard Jamal Williams, a three-time All-Pro in San Diego.

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