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Three defensive backs available in the upcoming supplemental draft: do the Browns need the help?

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Lots of new bodies this year. Is there room for another cornerback on this roster?

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Virginia Tech Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Supplemental Draft is next month with a date not yet set, and this time around there are three defensive backs hoping NFL clubs will take notice and select them.

The Browns already are crowded at both cornerback slots as well as each safety position and feel that this year’s defensive backfield unit will improve and become a solid portion of the defense. But sometimes, all it takes is one more body to fill out the unit or provide quality depth.

And every team in the league needs quality depth in the defensive backfield.

The supplemental draft does not happen every year. It was invented in 1977 for players who were not included in the regular college draft. Players that qualify for this draft are players that are usually deemed ineligible for the regular April draft or missed the deadline to apply. Players such as non-college players, redshirt sophomores that have met the three-year out-of-high school requirement, players from other pro leagues (such as rugby), players who are at one point declared academically ineligible, and athletes who were thrown off their respective squads are all examples of supplemental draft prospects.

This draft is set up differently than the April college draft. Teams do not select in order or in rounds, but instead submit “bids” on players. Clubs place a draft round number associated with the player that has an interest in and submit the bid via a blind auction-style. The team with the highest draft round number then gets the player. If more than one team has the same round number, then the franchise with the highest draft slot in the regular draft gets the player.

To clarify, Team A selects Player A and places a fourth-round number on him. Team B selects Player A and places a third-round number on him. Other teams select Player A with fifth-round numbers. Team B would get the player. In another scenario, both Team A and Team B select Player A and both clubs attach a third-round number to the player. By the pecking order of the 2018 NFL draft, whichever team selected higher would then retain the player. The Browns had the first overall slot and would trump all other teams in this scenario.

Once the player is won, the winning club then forfeits that same round number draft choice in the following NFL draft. Let’s take a look at each player.

NCAA Football: Toledo at Western Michigan Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

CB Sam Beal – Western Michigan

Without question, Beal (6’1”, 185 lbs.) is the best of this bunch and may be the only one selected although all three players have draftable grades. The junior corner will certainly be taken by somebody, just a matter of what round is attached to him. The two-year starter had a strong campaign last year with two INTs, 26 tackles, 10 pass defenses plus caused a fumble. He is very capable in the run game and is known for press coverage.

It has already been projected that if Beal had played out his senior season he would be a late first-round selection in the 2019 NFL draft, so the talent is there. He was also named first-team All-MAC. He is entering the supplemental draft because he did not meet minimum credit specifications which would have made him ineligible to play in the upcoming college season.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

CB/S Brandon Bryant – Mississippi State

Bryant (6’, 215 lbs.) is extremely fast evidenced by his 4.24 time posted last year. He also deadlifted 600 pounds. He netted one INT and 32 tackles this past season. In three seasons he accumulated 5 INTs and 157 tackles. Mississippi State withheld him from spring practices because of academic reasons to which Bryant applied for inclusion in the supplemental draft.

NCAA Football: Belk Bowl-Arkansas vs Virginia Tech Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

CB Adonis Alexander – Virginia Tech

Tall and rangy, Alexander (6’, 3”, 193 lbs.) is also a junior. He was ruled academically ineligible for the upcoming college season. In three seasons he recorded seven INTs, 91 tackles, 17 pass defenses and a solo sack. He is considered a man-to-man corner but doesn’t have the speed and average change-of-direction skills. Very good in run support and will come up for the tackle. He only had two starts in 2017.

Last year the Browns finished 19th in total yards allowed passing per game with 230.2, allowed the sixth highest passing TDs (28), had the second-fewest INTs (7) and was dead last in the league in pass defense rating (102.2). The Browns relied on Jason McCourty and Jamar Taylor on the corners with Derrick Kindred and rookie Jabrill Peppers at the safety positions. McCourty has since been traded to the New England Patriots.

This unit has changed quite a bit since last season. First-round draft pick Denzel Ward of Ohio State is still unsigned, but once he does it is anticipated that he will man the left corner slot with Briean Boddy-Calhoun as his backup. On the rightside, a battle is brewing between T.J. Carrie and Mike Gordon. Carrie was signed from the Oakland Raiders with a four-year $31 million contract this past off-season after a very productive 2017 season in which he started 15 games and had 84 tackles.

In the off-season, the Browns also signed E.J. Gaines (Bills) and Terrance Mitchell (Chiefs), and traded for Damarious Randall (Packers) to compete.

At safety, it appears Peppers will start at SS while Randall will compete with Derron Smith at FS. Kindred should backup Peppers.

In all, 43 players have been taken in the supplemental draft since its inception. Notable Browns include QB Bernie Kosar (1985-round 1), Josh Gordon (2012-round 2) and Terrelle Pryor (2011-round 3), who was selected by the Raiders.