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 What this helps accomplish is draft pick trade value, an improvement on the outdated Jimmy Johnson trade chart.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.
|Year||Team||Combined AV||Pick Equivalent|
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.
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.
|Year||Team||Total AV||Pick Equivalent|