It is just two weeks until the 2014 NFL Draft, now officially in the third year of expansion. This year’s edition features an extra 32 players making it to the pros. There is enough for another round with 32 teams and an extra 32 picks, it is the perfect amount to go around, but not every team gets one. For a team to receive an extra draft pick, that specific team must have lost at least one player during the off-season.
Last year the Green Bay Packers lost receiver Greg Jennings and linebacker Erick Walden as unrestricted free agents. The Packers were not willing to resign them because of expired contracts which would have been costly. This puts the Packers in position to draft not seven but nine players in seven rounds in 2014
This rule of adding extra picks, called “compensatory draft choices,” was introduced in 2012. Under the rule, a team which loses more, or better, free agents than it picks up in the previous year is eligible for these draft choices.
Like in the recently released film Draft Day starring Kevin Costner, Costner plays GM to the Cleveland Browns Sonny Weaver in which Weaver uses the draft to rebuild a struggling Browns team. He does this with pin point strategy of trading up, down, wheeling and dealing picks during the draft.
Last week like in Draft Day the Seattle Seahawks were involved in a trade. Trading away their seventh round pick to the Oakland Raiders for QB Terrelle Pryor. If this trade would have occurred in 2011, last years Super Bowl champion Seahawks would have given away the last pick in the draft, trading away “Mr. Irrelevant”, a title going to the last pick in the entire draft. After 2012, it is just the tenth to last pick in the draft.
There are 224 regular draft picks and 32 compensatory picks, a total of 256 new players will enter the NFL. The compensatory draft picks start on the second day at Radio City Music Hall in the third round. Only 13 teams get to participate in this part of the game.
The NFL Draft and the expansion will be kicking off 2014 with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round with the No. 97 pick, they will cap off their last compensatory pick in the fifth round at No. 173. Still in the third round the Green Bay Packers are next at No. 98. The Packers like the Steelers have another pick left in the compensatory field, in the fifth round with the No. 161 spot.
Up next are the Baltimore Ravens choosing No. 99. The Ravens have an additional two players coming in, one in round four and finally one in round five. The final draw in round three comes from the San Francisco 49ers right at the century mark, picking player No. 100, this being the 49ers only compensatory draft pick.
Round No. 4 brings on the Detroit Lions with two picks in the same round. These are the only players they will get a chance to grab in the compensatory section, No. 133 and No. 135. Also featured in the fourth round are the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, and the New England Patriots.
Houston will pick an additional two more draft choices, one in the sixth round at No.211 and in the seventh and final round, to name out who will be Mr Irrelevant at No. 256. The Falcons get two more in the seventh round, No. 253 and No. 255. New England is stopped in the fourth round with only one draft choice, at No. 140.
Now in the fifth round, the New York Giants come in as new members of compensatory picking with only one in 2014 at No. 174. Giants in-stadium rival the New York Jets come into action with three picks in the sixth round, with picks No. 209, No. 210, and No. 213. Along with their current draft picks, the Jets will have a total of 12 to choose from, the most this year.
The Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Rams will decide who to bring on-board in the sixth round. Cincinnati gets the No. 212 pick and a final pick in the seventh, at No. 252. St. Louis gets No. 214 and has a total of three pick-ups, the final two coming in the seventh round, one after the other No. 249 and No. 250.
Finally the Dallas Cowboys name out three players in the last round. The Cowboys will rope in a new name to the league every two picks at No. 248, No. 251, and No. 254. The seventh and deciding round has the most compensatory picks, a total of nine. The continued expansion of the 2014 NFL Draft is a three-day event and starts May 8 ending May 10.
Commentary by Daniel Gudino