The NFL Supplemental Draft is making its long-awaited return in July. The event had previously been on hiatus with the latest iteration occurring in 2019. The supplemental draft accommodates players in unique situations, and could especially benefit a collegiate player that is ruled ineligible for the upcoming college football season. You can learn more about the rules and history of the NFL Supplemental Draft here.
Two talents that are worthy of selections in this year’s supplemental draft are former Purdue wide receiver Milton Wright and former Jackson State wide receiver Malachi Wideman.
Wright was outstanding for the Boilermakers in 2021. The Louisville, Kentucky native recorded 57 receptions for 732 and seven touchdowns as a junior. Wright was then expected to take over No. 1 wideout duties from David Bell when unfortunate circumstances struck. Wright was forced to watch from the sidelines after being declared academically ineligible for the 2022 season.
Wright appeared primed for a 1,000-yard receiving season following Bell’s departure. Wright was the in-house favorite to become Purdue’s go-to receiver. That honor ultimately fell to Charlie Jones, who posted 1,361 yards in Wright’s absence. Jones was then a fourth-round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2023 NFL Draft. Wright is a draftable talent that could have enjoyed a similar outcome.
Wright is listed as 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. Although his official measurements are likely a tad smaller, Wright is a big-bodied receiver that uses his frame effectively to box out defenders at the catch point. NFL decision-makers may want to revisit the tape from Wright’s 2021 performance against Northwestern, where he accounted for 213 receiving yards.
Wideman is a former 4-star recruit that initially committed to Tennessee. Wideman struggled to get on the field for the Volunteers and eventually transferred to Jackson State in search of more playing time. It was under the tutelage of Deion Sanders that Wideman exploded. He caught 34 passes for 540 yards and a SWAC-leading 12 touchdowns in 2021.
Like Wright, Wideman was then deemed ineligible to compete throughout the 2022 campaign. It left Wideman unable to build on his impressive first-year showing at Jackson State. Wideman then went through the approval process for the upcoming supplemental draft.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Wideman proved to be an elite red-zone threat for the Tigers. NFL offenses are always searching for mismatch weapons when coverage gets tighter within the 20-yard line. Wideman’s production in his one full campaign could present a team with an intriguing option.
Sanders helped develop several talents throughout his impressive stint at Jackson State. Look no further than Detroit Lions sixth-round EDGE James Houston IV, who recorded 8.0 sacks as a first-year contributor last season despite receiving limited playing time. Whichever NFL franchise takes a chance on Wideman may reap similar benefits.
The supplemental draft has put forth success stories—wide receiver Josh Gordon is a star example before he ran into substance trouble with the NFL. Wright and Wideman are capable of competing for a roster spot throughout training camp and the preseason. Both Wright and Wideman have proven they deserve NFL opportunities based on their 2021 performances.
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