July 16, 2009 at 2:32 am

John Niyo: NFL Insider

Lions might take chance on DE in supplemental draft

Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon might be the only player taken in today's supplemental draft. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Lions thus far have made good on their promise to use every available avenue to overhaul and upgrade their roster. They've made a few trades, more than a handful of waiver claims and signed their share of free agents, though they mostly avoided the big-ticket items on the market.

Now the question is whether they'll make a pick in today's NFL supplemental draft. For a rebuilding team like the Lions, it's a bigger risk than you might think. They do have all their picks, including an extra fifth-round pick -- courtesy of a draft-day deal with Denver this year -- and a roster that still could use an influx of young talent, particularly on the defensive line.

But Kentucky DE Jeremy Jarmon, the top prospect in this year's supplemental draft, figures to go as early as the third or fourth round. And don't be surprised if the Lions bite: They were among the 18 teams that showed up for Jarmon's workout last week in Lexington, and while they didn't bring him in for a visit, they've done their due diligence in recent weeks.

Jarmon, a former All-Southeastern Conference player who impressed scouts last week in Lexington, doesn't have the same red flags or character issues as do most players who petition to join what amounts to a "second-chance" draft. The NCAA ruled Jarmon ineligible for 2009 after he tested positive for a banned substance -- he says it was because of a dietary supplement he was taking -- but the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder was a potential first-day pick in 2010.

So what's he worth now? Hard to say. The supplemental draft order is set on a three-tiered, weighted lottery using last year's record. Teams submit the names of the players they want to draft and the round they'd like to draft them, and the highest bid wins. Detroit has the first pick, so it wins all tiebreakers in that regard, and that might up the ante for other interested teams like Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Washington.

But here's the catch: If a team drafts a player it forfeits the pick in the same round in next year's regular NFL draft. For instance, if the Lions opt to use a fourth-round pick on Jarmon, they'd lose their fourth-rounder next spring. That's not an insignificant price to pay, either, considering they'll likely be drafting high again next year and the 2010 draft class is widely viewed as one of the best and deepest in many years.

Jarmon might be the only player drafted today, though Kansas State receiver/returner Deon Murphy has drawn interest. Other possibilities include receivers Corey Surrency (Florida State) and Torris Magee (Southern Miss), linebacker Blake Boyd (Western Kentucky), defensive end McKinner Dixon (Texas Tech), offensive lineman Joe McMahon (Central Michigan) and cornerback Demetrice Morley (Tennessee).

Extra points

A couple dozen NFL players took their case to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, meeting with members of Congress to begin lobbying for support in their inevitable labor war with owners over a new collective bargaining agreement. The NFL already has its own political action committee, but this is another sign new union boss DeMaurice Smith , a Washington D.C. attorney who used to work for new U.S. attorney general Eric Holder , will be a formidable foe.

... The NFL Players Association, by the way, has asked players to save 25 percent of their salaries this year and next -- it's called the "25/25" program -- to help brace for the possibility of a lockout in 2011.

... Kansas City locked up quarterback Matt Cassel with a six-year deal that includes $28 million in guaranteed money and pays out $40.5 million over the next three seasons. But that'll be dwarfed by looming extensions for San Diego's Philip Rivers , the New York Giants' Eli Manning and Chicago's Jay Cutler . Oh, and don't forget Tom Brady .

By the numbers

1 player drafted by Lions in supplemental draft (Kevin Robinson, DB, 1982)

5 picks in rounds 3-5 owned by Philadelphia for 2010 draft

37 players selected in supplemental draft since 1977

john.niyo@detnews.com">john.niyo@detnews.com (313) 982-3810

Wide open

Five veteran receivers still available in free agency:
Marvin Harrison: How would future Hall of Famer look in Vikings purple?
Plaxico Burress: Still awaiting court date and possible NFL suspension
Matt Jones: Off-field issues a concern, but had big year in '08
Amani Toomer: At 34, he could still help a team in a complementary role
D.J. Hackett: Can be productive in right system (West Coast offense

More John Niyo