NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

"O.J. Ross"

Is Ross worth a late-round flier?
Sandra Dukes – USA Today Sports

Six names have emerged as eligible players for Thursday’s NFL supplemental draft. Absent are the big names being bantered about on Twitter – Nick Harwell, Michael Dyer, and Charles Sims.

NFL’s Future John Middlekauff sourced out two of the names with South Alabama CB Damond Smith and UNLV DE James Boyd last week. CBS Sports Rob Rang provided new additions and finalized the less than impressive list of prospects.

Smith and Boyd will be joined by UNLV DT Nate Holloway, Central Florida DE Toby Jackson, Houston WR Dewayne Peace, and Purdue WR O.J. Ross.

As much as we would like to provide some in-depth evaluation of these prospects – we haven’t seen much of anyone outside of Purdue’s O.J. Ross. What we can provide is a little background on each of these prospects.

O.J. Ross, WR, Purdue

Ross was set to be Purdue’s leading returning receiver before a January suspension. At 5-foot-10, 186 pounds – Ross is a dynamic athlete with exceptional lateral agility. He returned kicks at Purdue as a freshman and sophomore but stuck with receiving duties solely in 2012.

The January suspension wasn’t Ross’ first run-in with troubles at Purdue. Ross was suspended for Purdue’s 2011 bowl game due to being academically ineligible. Ross’ latest indiscretion was that of the vaunted ‘violation of unspecified team rules’.

The Ormond Beach, Florida native was a four-star recruit with exceptional speed coming out of high school. He was an immediate contributor for the Boilermakers as he started four games as a true freshman.

Ross’ size will limit him at the next level to the slot receiver but his speed and lateral agility will make for an interesting camp body.

Damond Smith, CB, South Alabama

Smith’s career started out at Western Michigan where he was an immediate starter. Smith transferred to South Alabama after a fight with a WMU teammate. Smith played in only four games for South Alabama in two years – was suspended due to violation of team rules for all of 2012.

Smith worked out at Jacksonville State’s pro day – where according to John Middlekauff he ran in the 4.4 range at 5-foot-11, 184 pounds. Smith drew the interest of several teams and was signed by the Green Bay Packers on a tryout basis before it was learned he wasn’t eligible.

"Damond Smith"

Photo courtesy of al.com

Some tape emerged after Middlekauff’s announcement that Smith would enter the supplemental draft. He’s a strong, press corner that could make the transition to free safety at the next level. He tackles well in space but struggles with tight hips in coverage. He’s a solid straight-line athlete but I would worry about him being able to flip his hips to run with speed and transition on quick in or out breaking routes.

Smith comes with some major character concerns but it won’t hurt that NFL teams have seen him work out (a solid work out according to reports). Smith has scheduled another pro day workout for this afternoon in Michigan. Teams probably won’t gamble a pick on him but he is sure to be in someone’s camp this summer. At worst, Smith could be an excellent gunner and special teams contributor.

Dewayne Peace, WR, Houston

Houston will be without its leading receiver and running back. Peace was dismissed from the program after being ruled academically ineligible a little over a month ago.

Houston already lost lead RB Charles Sims as he left the program, ultimately landed at West Virginia. Peace was Houston’s leading receiver in 2012 with 54 receptions for 603 yards despite missing three games while serving a suspension of team rules violation.

Peace clearly fell out of the good graces of the Houston coaching staff as he was running with the second-team this spring and wasn’t expected to start in a deep receiving group.

The former JUCO receiver checks in at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds and could be give a tryout at CB – where he spent time at Arizona. The only reason I mention it is because in the one game I viewed he wasn’t in impressive in the least at receiver. He appeared slow in and out of breaks and didn’t have any special qualities for a guy slight of size. He’s going to struggle to make it at the next level at his size with very average ability.

James Boyd, DE, UNLV

Boyd may be the most athletically intriguing prospect of this bunch. Boyd was a USC commit that played sparingly in two seasons at SC. Boyd transferred West Los Angeles City College in 2011 before winding up at UNLV in 2012.

The 6-foot-5, 255 pound Boyd spent time at quarterback, tight end, and defensive end during his collegiate career. He played in eight games, at DE, for UNLV in 2012 recording 21 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Teams will be intrigued by Boyd’s combination of size and speed but it’s unlikely that he will use a supplemental selection on him.

Nate Holloway, DT, UNLV

Boyd’s teammate has the size (6’3”, 365) to play the nose at the next level but fell off the map as a junior in 2012. Holloway impressed coaches early in his time at UNLV but never really made the impact that most expected.

He’s struggled with weight issues (checking in at over 400 pounds) and failed to produce despite solid ability. He will be an intriguing camp body due to his size but there’s little chance a team take a shot on him during Thursday’s draft.

Toby Jackson, DE, Central Florida

Jackson signed with Central Florida from Navarro College (JC) in 2010. He made two starts as a junior in 2011, recording 14 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and a blocked punt.

Jackson was a highly recruited prep that originally committed to Georgia over the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Miami, and USC.

Jackson wound up at Navarro College (Texas) and was one of the most highly sought after JUCO players – ultimately deciding to follow his brother to UCF.

After one season at UCF he was kicked off the team due to being academically ineligible. Jackson cites the loss of his grandfather and cousin within a three month timespan as the reason for academic struggles.

At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds Jackson brings a unique blend of size and athleticism that could be used as a LDE or 3-4 OLB at the next level.

The NFL supplemental draft will take place on Thursday at 1:00 PM EST. Unlike the regular draft – the supplemental draft takes place via email with teams putting bids on players. Whatever team gives the highest pick in the draft order will be awarded the player. The winning team forfeits the corresponding choice in the next year’s regular draft.

A player has been chosen in the last four supplemental draft’s – with Josh Gordon being selected by the Cleveland Browns in last year’s draft at the second round value. This year’s supplemental draft is likely to be the first since 2008 to not have a player selected.