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Let's review how the NFL's supplemental draft works

By Tim Graham

The NFL will conduct its annual supplemental draft Thursday, with six players available for teams to collect.

Because the supplemental draft rarely generates scintillating activity and the Buffalo Bills haven't participated in the summer event since they bid a fourth-round pick on Oregon defensive tackle Brett Young in 1989, most fans pay little attention to how it works.

Let's take a look at the process.

The pool is comprised of players who didn't enter the regular draft but whose circumstances have changed and don't want to wait another year. Various reasons range anywhere from graduating early to being kicked off the team to financial hardship.

The draft order is determined by a weighted system. Teams are broken down into three categories: six victories or fewer (10 teams, counting the Bills), all others that didn't make the playoffs (10 teams) and those that did make the playoffs (12 teams).

Within those tiers, a draft order is computed, with the worst teams having the best shot of getting to the front of the line within their group.

Clubs interested in any supplemental-draft prospect then can submit to the NFL a sealed bid, declaring what round they want to select him.

The highest bid awards the prospect to that team, which then will lose the corresponding choice in next year's draft.

For instance, when the Cleveland Browns bid a second-round draft choice for Gordon in last year's supplemental draft, they lost their second-round draft choice in April.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |