If you aren’t familiar with Brandon Bryant, he’s an absolute freak of a physical specimen and safety for the Mississippi State Bulldogs who recently applied for the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft.
Bryant was listed as such on a list of the most freakish college athletes from the 2017 season, grouped with elite athletes like Saquon Barkley, Vita Vea, and Christian Wilkins among others.
Bryant regularly runs the 40-yard dash under 4.3 seconds, deadlifts 600 lbs and squats 450 lbs. You’re unlikely to find a more ridiculous combination of strength and speed on the entire Bengals roster, if not the entire NFL.
Despite the absurd speed and power, Bryant wasn’t exactly the model of production while at Mississippi State, only accumulating 32 tackles (13 solo) over 11 games played this past season.
Those 32 tackles were good for 10th on the Bulldogs, and were only half of the 60+ tackles he recorded both as a freshman and a sophomore. He only topped three tackles in three of the eleven games he played in this year.
Bryant did not enter the draft as a junior following the 2018 season, but academic reasons kept him out Mississippi State’s spring practices. In April, he announced his decision to leave the Bulldogs, and in June he entered the supplemental draft.
Any selection a team makes in the supplemental draft comes at the cost of a draft pick in the next NFL Draft of the same round. For example, if the Bengals select Bryant with a fourth-round pick in the supplemental draft, they will lose their fourth-round pick next April.
The Bengals last dabbled in the supplemental draft when they selected linebacker Ahmad Brooks from Virginia with a third-round pick. Brooks had a nondescript pair of seasons with the Bengals, but became a successful linebacker for the 49ers, making a Pro Bowl appearance and carving out an 11-year career.
The primary concern with Bryant is that he may turn out to be another SPARQ champion like Taylor Mays or Margus Hunt, who just doesn’t have the feel or instincts to be an effective NFL safety.
But at the cost of a seventh-round pick, it may be worth it to add another option in the secondary and see if the Bengals can find a special teams player who could potentially develop into a role on defense as a safety or even in a safety/linebacker type of hybrid spot.