No Surprise, Ravens and Packers Get Most Value From Compensatory Picks

The NFL Draft is commonly referred to as a crapshoot. While there’s varying levels in the definition of “crapshoot” when referencing the draft, we can all agree there’s no science that makes the process of selecting draft result in a 100 percent success rate. With so much than can so wrong in selecting any prospective NFL player, the best way to counteract those risks is have as many shots as possible.

One place where teams can grab an extra advantage is from the annual compensatory picks handed out by the NFL. These picks are awarded to teams based off the value of free agents lost from the previous offseason with picks ranging from the ends of Rounds 3 through 7 depending on the type of player and contract given out by the new team. Multiple picks can be awarded to one team and that is a common occurrence in each draft. This allows teams to build up more draft capital by simply allowing players to leave in free agency, with most likely to receive massive contracts on the open market.

The Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens are generally considered the two best teams at accumulating extra picks through the compensatory system. In fact the Packers and Ravens are two of three teams to receive at least one compensatory draft pick in each of the past five drafts (2016 included). The third team with at least one pick in the past five drafts is the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While simply receiving an extra pick or two is a nice coup for simply not re-signing a player, the value of these picks vary widely. Luckily we can place a value on these picks thanks to the Draft Value Calculator from Chase Stuart at Football Perspective. The Draft Value Calculator uses the average Approximate Value associated with a given draft slot. Obviously the first overall picks will have more value than the second, and a third-round pick will be more valuable than a fifth-round pick. What this helps accomplish is draft pick trade value, an improvement on the outdated Jimmy Johnson trade chart. What this can also do is help give an overall value of draft capital, either for an entire draft class or in this case these additional compensatory selections.

For the 2016 Draft, the Ravens and Packers were among the top teams in draft value added but not at the top. That instead went to the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. The Broncos led all teams in draft capital added by these comp picks from the transactions of last offseason, even before the team lost many members of the Super Bowl champion defensive unit during this offseason, along with quarterback Brock Osweiler. It would not be a surprise to see the Brocnos at the top of this list again next year.

The table below shows the combined Approximate Value for each team receiving a compensatory pick for the 2016 NFL Draft, along with the single pick equivalent to the total Approximate Value. For example, the Broncos received the 98th, 136th and 219th overall selections in the 2016 draft. Combined, those picks are worth 9.0 AV, which is the equivalent of the 56th overall pick in the draft.

YearTeamCombined AVPick Equivalent
2016Broncos956
2016Seahawks7.867
2016Ravens7.570
2016Packers6.977
2016Browns6.879
2016Patriots6.780
2016Lions6.287
201649ers6.287
2016Cowboys5.1102
2016Bills3.5132
2016Cardinals1.9170
2016Chargers1.7175
2016Steelers0.3220

Before this year the Broncos had only received a comp pick in one draft since 2012, two picks that came to the equivalent of the 131st overall pick in the 2015 draft. The Broncos come out on top of the Ravens and Packers in 2016, but come nowhere near the total value those two teams have accrued in the past five years. No team has done better than the Baltimore Ravens, who since 2012 have added more than the No. 1 overall pick in value from compensatory selections. In a given year the first overall pick is worth 34.6 AV. Including 2016, the Ravens have received 39.85 AV in comp picks. The Packers are in second, but still well behind the value of the Ravens. Green Bay has received 24.2 AV in comp picks since 2012, near the single pick equivalent of the fifth overall pick in a draft worth 24.3 AV.

This next table highlights the total AV each team in the league has received in compensatory picks from the 2012 draft through 2016, as well as how many seasons the team was awarded at least one pick. There will only be 27 listed teams in the table below. Washington, Chicago, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and New Orleans have not received a single comp pick in any draft since 2012.

TeamAVYears
Ravens39.855
Packers24.25
49ers18.674
Lions16.553
Chiefs15.52
Patriots15.313
Seahawks14.23
Texans12.913
Broncos12.572
Raiders122
Steelers9.355
Bengals9.273
Cowboys8.573
Browns8.32
Vikings7.11
Falcons6.923
Jets6.72
Titans6.351
Giants5.313
Panthers4.22
Bills3.512
Colts2.623
Dolphins2.051
Cardinals1.912
Chargers1.752
Rams0.822
Eagles0.051

Analysis of compensatory picks heading into this year are important because it will be the last draft in which selections will be mandatory for teams. Starting in 2017 these picks will be tradable. For teams like the Ravens and Packers, this could be used as extra ammunition to move up in an earlier round and add even more value in draft capital. More likely these teams will keep most of these picks, hanging on to the extra value. Either way, the added ability of moving these comp picks will making the process of receiving them even more important in the future. For many the front offices in Baltimore and Green Bay are models to follow in general, which leaves no surprise they are the two best franchises in gaining value from the annual compensatory selections.

Below is the yearly breakdown for each NFL team since 2012, including the total AV and equivalent draft pick, sortable by team, year and pick.

YearTeamTotal AVPick Equivalent
201649ers6.287
201449ers5.3100
201349ers3.66129
201549ers3.51132
2015Bengals8.758
2014Bengals0.51212
2013Bengals0.06210
2016Bills3.5132
2012Bills0.01251
2016Broncos956
2015Broncos3.57131
2016Browns6.879
2012Browns1.5180
2016Cardinals1.9170
2015Cardinals0.01256
2016Chargers1.7175
2012Chargers0.05250
2015Chiefs9.353
2013Chiefs6.286
2012Colts2.6152
2015Colts0.01255
2013Colts0.01254
2016Cowboys5.1102
2012Cowboys3.4135
2014Cowboys0.07225
2013Dolphins2.05165
2013Eagles0.05239
2013Falcons3.65129
2014Falcons3.22139
2012Falcons0.05249
2012Giants3.6130
2014Giants1.7174
2013Giants0.01253
2014Jets5105
2012Jets1.7175
2014Lions6.879
2016Lions6.287
2013Lions3.55130
2014Packers7.175
2012Packers7.175
2016Packers6.977
2013Packers2166
2015Packers1.1192
2015Panthers3.6131
2012Panthers0.6207
2016Patriots6.780
2015Patriots5.5197
2014Patriots3.1140
2012Raiders11.339
2013Raiders0.7205
2014Rams0.42214
2015Rams0.4215
2014Ravens13.528
2016Ravens7.570
2015Ravens6.978
2013Ravens6.4582
2012Ravens5.596
2016Seahawks7.867
2015Seahawks6.385
2013Seahawks0.1224
2014Steelers7.768
2013Steelers0.7206
2015Steelers0.5212
2016Steelers0.3220
2012Steelers0.15223
2013Texans6.484
2014Texans3.91125
2015Texans2.6153
2013Titans6.3584
2012Vikings7.175

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