In the 2005 supplemental draft, the Miami Dolphins used a fifth-round selection on Manuel Wright, a talented but habitually underachieving defensive tackle from Southern California. For their investment, the Dolphins got an out-of-shape and immature defender, a guy who played in only three games and recorded four tackles and who reported back to work this spring in dubious condition.
But say this for Nick Saban: Just because the Dolphins' coach was once bitten in the supplemental draft doesn't mean he will be twice shy about using it again to add a young defender.
Which is why, more than just about any other team in the league, the Dolphins are eyeing linebacker Ahmad Brooks, the former University of Virginia star booted off the squad by coach Al Groh for a series of undisclosed infractions, as a possible choice in the July 13 supplemental draft.
The Dolphins were one of 22 teams represented on Thursday at Brooks' audition for league scouts. But in terms of due diligence, Miami has already done more background work than most franchises on Brooks, a player with enormous physical ability but a history of poor judgments off the field. That includes sending him recently to meet with Lon Rosen, a psychologist and close friend of Saban who has done personality reports in the past for the Miami coach.
It appears that Miami and San Francisco, which is scheduled to bring Brooks to the Bay Area next week for a one-on-one session, are the teams most interested in him. A team that exercises a pick in the supplemental draft must forfeit a choice in the corresponding round in next year's regular draft.
Although he possesses first-round physical skills, Brooks, clearly the top prospect in the supplemental draft at this point, is more likely to be chosen in the middle rounds. If that's the case, the Dolphins, prone to take a few chances on players -- as was the case when they signed former Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick last month as an undrafted free agent -- could be the club that chooses Brooks.
Saban is attempting to gradually remake an aging defense. He added three starters in the last two drafts and there remains some hope that Wright will yet become a player. Plus, many scouts feel Brooks will be best suited to playing in a 3-4 front, the alignment that Saban wants to eventually make his base defense. New defensive coordinator Dom Capers has coached the 3-4 virtually his entire NFL career.
At 6-feet-3 and 260 pounds, having shed more than 30 pounds in the past two months, Brooks certainly has the prototype frame for a 3-4 linebacker. And although Miami star Zach Thomas has demonstrated no signs of slippage, he is entering his 11th season and will be 33 when the campaign begins, and the Dolphins will soon have to start thinking about grooming his eventual successor.
Brooks is big enough to play inside linebacker and quick enough, as evidenced by 13 sacks and 31 quarterback pressures in three seasons at Virginia, to move outside and rush the passer. He also had 234 tackles, 21 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles, an interception and 14 passes defensed.
All of which means it won't be surprising if Saban and the Dolphins roll the dice in the supplemental draft for the second year in a row.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.