Two former SEC standouts, both of whom are academically ineligible for the 2005 season, have made different decisions about the NFL's supplemental draft.
Mississippi tailback Vashon Pearson, who led the Rebels in rushing in 2004, has submitted his paperwork to the NFL and is expected to be included in the July 14 supplemental draft. In a mild surprise, Kentucky inside linebacker Chad Anderson has decided to bypass the supplemental lottery and prepare for the regular 2006 draft.
The supplemental draft is a lottery held for special-case players, usually those who have lost their college eligibility because of academics or other reasons. A franchise that uses a supplemental pick on a player in the July 14 lottery must forfeit its corresponding-round choice in the '06 draft. Five players have been confirmed so far in the supplemental draft, with Southern California defensive tackle Manuel Wright and Clemson wide receiver Roscoe Crosby the most likely to be chosen.
While there were mixed reviews on Anderson from league scouts, he probably would have garnered serious consideration had he opted to apply for the supplemental draft. In 2003, Anderson (6-feet-1¾, 250 pounds) led the SEC with 125 tackles and added 3½ sacks. Anderson, 21, struggled on and off the field in 2004, lost his starting job at one point, and finished with 44 tackles, two interceptions and one pass deflection.
Anderson, who withdrew from Kentucky this spring, also considered transferring to a non-Division I school where he could have used his final year of eligibility this fall. Instead, he will spend the season working out and preparing to audition for scouts next spring in advance of the 2006 draft.
Pearson, 22, carried 158 times for 827 yards and three touchdowns in 2004, and added seven receptions for 88 yards, starting in seven of his 11 appearances. For his career, he appeared in 34 games, with nine starts and rushed for 1,441 yards and 12 touchdowns on 330 carries. He also added 20 catches for 205 yards and one score and returned three kickoffs for 77 yards.
At 5-feet-11, 205 pounds, Pearson is regarded as a solid inside runner and has been timed at under 4.5 in the 40.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.