Alabama Football: Crimson Tide could still lose players to 2020 NFL Draft

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

There is another 2020 NFL Draft and some key Alabama football players could still decide to seek an NFL waiver allowing them to be selected this July.

Before any Alabama football fan is panicked by the headline, we need to explain – what we know and what we don’t know. No one from the NFL league office has said the summer, supplemental Draft will be expanded in 2020. Even more importantly, there has been no public communication from any current Alabama football player about applying for an NFL waiver.

The NFL Supplemental Draft began in 1977 and since then only 46 players have been selected by NFL teams. The most players drafted in any one Supplemental Draft was in 1989 when five former college players were drafted. One of those five was former Alabama football running back, Bobby Humphrey. Humphrey was drafted as a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos.

The procedure for player selections is very different from the April Draft. Teams submit bids for players they wish to draft, specifying which round the player would be taken in. The NFL office opens all the bids. Following tiers based on team records, If two or more teams bid on the same player, the team designating the highest round wins the player.  NFL teams are cautious with Supplemental picks. The main reason being every successful bid carries with it the loss of pick, in the same round, in the next year’s Draft. In 1989, by winning a bid on Humphrey, the Broncos lost a first-round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft.

The Supplemental Draft was initially designed for players who had lost their college eligibility for academic or disciplinary reasons. The NFL waiver decisions are done on a case-by-case basis. In some years waivers were granted because a player missed the initial deadline for the April Draft.

There is another requirement to obtain a waiver. The college player must be three years past his high school graduation. If he failed to graduate from high school, the three years are measured from when his high school class graduated.

Are their top Alabama football players who, subject to a waiver, would be chosen in a supplemental draft? Yes, and it is more than any Crimson Tide fan wants to consider. The first three who come to mind are Najee Harris, Alex Leatherwood and DeVonta Smith. Four more who might make a move are Dylan Moses, LaBryan Ray, Deonte Brown and Brian Robinson. Realistically only, Harris, Leatherwood and Smith might have a strong interest in turning professional.

Crimson Tide fans may wonder why any of the players would make such a drastic decision. The answer is the unknown about the next college football season. A delayed season, with less than a full schedule and perhaps no National Championship format, could sway the minds of the young men.

Though not speaking for the NFL, Denver Broncos General Manager, John Elway believes the Supplemental Draft could be larger this year.

"We have talked about the possibility of more kids coming back out, especially with the uncertainty of the college season and where that sits.Each week and each day we find out more and more information of where everything’s going. I would think with the situation that there is a possibility that there’d be more kids in the supplemental draft especially kids that were thinking about coming out."

One other situation that could prompt a move by players is the contingency being discussed for no college football until next Spring. The odds of that seem small, but the chance of it happening is not zero. A spring season, even a full one, might deter college players expecting to report to NFL team camps next summer.

Next. Ranking the Top 2021 Draft Prospects. dark

No Alabama football fan wants to see such player attrition. It probably will not happen, but if it does, players should not be faulted for making what they believe is the best, business decision.