The Supplemental Draft, is designed to allow underclassmen --who did not petition the league for early entry before the NFL Draft deadline but find themselves ineligible for the upcoming college season-- a vehicle for entering the NFL. The supplemental draft is held after the traditional NFL Draft and before each season begins.
The league uses a weighted three-step, semi-lottery system to determine the order of the supplemental draft as follows:
- Teams with six wins or less participate in the first lottery for the top supplemental draft picks. The team that posted the worst record among that group is given a weighted advantage over the following team, with each team's "weight" being decreased on down the line until reaching the team with the best record in the group.
- The second group consists of non-playoff teams and follows the same weighted system.
- The third group consists of last season's 12 playoff teams and, again, follows the same lottery system.
After the order is determined, each team submits to the league the name of the player(s) they are interested in, as well as the round of the supplemental draft they would like to choose them in. The team that submits the highest bid is awarded rights to the player. If more than one team bids a pick from the same round, the team with the highest pick in the round wins out.
If a team uses a pick in the Supplemental Draft, they must forfeit their choice in the corresponding round of the next years NFL Draft.