The Detroit Lions hit a bit of luck this week, winning the NFL supplemental draft lottery.
“What’s that?” you ask.
Every year, the NFL holds a supplemental draft for players that either weren’t eligible to join the regular draft or for whatever reason—often college disciplinary reasons—decided to change their mind about returning to school.
For whatever reason, the draft order for this is not the same as the normal NFL Draft. Instead, teams are placed into one of three tiers:
- Teams that finished with six or fewer wins in 2018
- Teams with seven or more wins that didn’t make the playoffs
- 2018 playoff teams
From within those three groups, a lottery is held to determine priority order for the draft. The Lions finished 2018 with a 6-10 record, putting them in the first tier. And according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Lions won the lottery, giving them the highest priority in the 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft.
The supplemental draft works by each team placing a bid on the eligible players. In other words, they submit—via email—the highest round draft pick (from next year) they’d be willing to part with to acquire that player. The team with the highest bid gets said player. If there are multiple teams that have bid the same round, the one with highest priority would be awarded the player.
You may think that would’ve given the Lions motivation to select a player this year, but they did not.
There was only one selection in this year’s draft. Former Washington State safety Jalen Thompson went to the Arizona Cardinals for a fifth-round pick.
The Detroit Lions have only once ever spent a pick in the supplemental draft. Back in 1982, the Lions drafted cornerback Kevin Robinson in the ninth round. He has no recorded stats in his NFL career.