Running backs Unga, Emokpae opt for supplemental draft

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by cowboyjoe, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    Running backs Unga, Emokpae opt for supplemental draft
    June 16, 2010
    By Rob Rang
    Tell Rob your opinion![​IMG]

    Brigham Young running back Harvey Unga and Truman State running back Vanness Emokpae have sent in their paperwork to be included in the NFL's annual supplemental draft on July 15, has learned.

    Unga is more likely to be drafted, but Emokpae has the bulk and versatility to intrigue teams as an undrafted free agent.

    BYU's career leader with 3,455 rushing yards, Unga was suspended from the team and elected to make himself eligible for the supplemental draft after considering transferring to another school.

    Harvey Unga's productivity isn't questioned, but scouts wonder about his speed and durability. (Getty Images)
    The three-time Mountain West Conference honoree withdrew from classes at BYU in April after admitting that he'd violated the school's strict honor code. BYU's honor code calls for students to refrain from the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, as well as engaging in premarital sex.

    Following his withdrawal from classes, Unga re-applied to the university, but the school declined to allow him back in, notifying him in late May.

    The 6-foot, 237-pounder is a powerful back with natural running skills. He has the lateral agility to sidestep tackles and locate holes in the defense. He has surprising game speed for his size and flashes soft hands. Some have characterized him as a poor man's Toby Gerhart, a second-round pick by Minnesota in April out of Stanford, and a potential fourth-round pick.

    With many of the top big backs of the 2009 draft (Jonathan Dwyer, Anthony Dixon, Charles Scott) falling into the sixth round and later, Unga isn't guaranteed to be drafted. NFL teams are notoriously hesitant to give up draft picks for supplemental prospects. Though Unga has surprising running ability, his lack of breakaway speed is just one of scouts' concerns.

    "He has some talent," said one longtime NFL scout who requested anonymity discussing draft prospects. "He is beat up physically, though."

    Unga missed the 2006 season with a hip injury. He's been productive the past three seasons despite consistently battling with ankle and deep muscle bruises -- a natural by-product of his physical running style. He missed the 2009 season opener against Oklahoma with a broken hand.

    Emokpae is a similarly-built athlete whose versatility and production at Truman State makes him an intriguing prospect.

    Officially listed by the school at 6-1, 240 pounds, Emokpae has seen time at every skill position on offense, even seeing time as the team's Wildcat quarterback and kick returner in 2009 and as a punter in 2007. He was officially listed by the Bulldogs as a wide receiver in 2009, though he led the team in rushing attempts.

    Emokpae enjoyed his best season in 2009, leading the team in rushing yards (524), rushing touchdowns (5), receptions (26), receiving yards (365) and receiving touchdowns (4).

    He missed all but the first game in 2008 with a knee injury and, having already graduated, simply is choosing to make himself eligible for the NFL rather than return to Truman State for his fifth season.

    Both players boast a combination of athleticism and size to pique the interest of scouts. To find a niche in the NFL, however, each may have to make the difficult transition to fullback or H-back.

    Designed to be an avenue into the NFL for "special case" players, the supplemental draft has grown in popularity in recent years.

    The Washington Redskins selected former Kentucky star defensive end Jeremy Jarmon in the third round last year. Jarmon played in 11 games for the Redskins, starting once. He finished his rookie season with eight tackles, including six solo stops. His forced fumble against Tampa Bay running back Clifton Smith with only 48 seconds left gave the Redskins their second victory of the season.

    The supplemental draft was canceled in 2008 due to a lack of player eligibility, but 10 players applied for special eligibility in 2007. Of them, two were selected. San Diego drafted former Georgia cornerback Paul Oliver in the fourth round, and Baltimore selected Maryland offensive tackle Jared Gaither a round later.

    Since its inception in 1977, a total of 39 players have been selected via the supplemental draft. Among the most notable selections were quarterback Bernie Kosar (Cleveland, 1985), wide receiver Cris Carter (Philadelphia, 1987) and linebacker Brian Bosworth (Seattle, 1987).

    The supplemental draft was originally created for players who had lost their eligibility to play collegiate football between the regular April draft and the beginning of the next season. Many "special case" players had lost their eligibility due to academics or legal troubles.

    Unlike the televised April draft, the supplemental is carried out via e-mail among teams. The teams, slotted into three groups based on their won/loss percentage the year previous, contact the league with a list of the players they'd draft and the round in which they'd take them. Any team that uses a supplemental draft pick would then lose the corresponding selection in the NFL Draft the following April.

    Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for, distributed by The Sports Xchange.
  2. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    When was the last time the Cowboys spent a choice on a supplemental draft pick?
  3. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    Darren Benson in 1995. A 3rd rounder. If I remember right he quit after his 3rd year because he decided he wanted to roof houses.

    Yeah, he was a community college player. Why do you ask?
  4. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    I knew it had been a while since the Cowboys made one of these picks, but didn't remember who the last selection was. I do remember Benson (the player, not the butler), but forgot how he was acquired.
  5. casmith07

    casmith07 Attorney-at-Zone

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    I would want no part of any player from BYU.
  6. Verdict

    Verdict Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't the QB Steve Walsh (The "U") a supplemental draft pick when Jimmy Johnson came on board?

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