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Bucs Dealt Another Seven

Posted Mar 26, 2011

Tampa Bay, which has made excellent use of its seventh-round draft picks in recent years, received an additional seventh-rounder for 2011 when the NFL announced this year’s compensatory picks on Friday


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have spent their seventh-round draft picks wisely in recent years.  That’s why the NFL’s announcement of compensatory picks for the 2011 draft is significant for the Buccaneers, even if they didn’t get nearly the haul enjoyed by Carolina, Baltimore or Tennessee.

 

For the second straight year, the Buccaneers were awarded one of the 32 compensatory picks that are given out annually, and once again it falls near the end of the seventh round.  Tampa Bay’s extra pick will be the 37th selection in the final round, number 238 overall.  It is the fifth of 21 selections added on to the seventh round.

 

That brings the Bucs’ total number of picks in the 2011 NFL Draft to eight.  Tampa Bay owns its own pick in every round except the sixth, but has Kansas City’s sixth-rounder to make up for that missing selection.  The Buccaneers traded two seventh-round picks to Denver during the final day of the 2010 draft in exchange for the Broncos’ 2011 fifth-rounder; later, the Bucs sent that pick to the Chiefs to acquire defensive end Alex Magee and Kansas City’s sixth-round selection.

 

Even after trading those two seventh-round picks to the Broncos, the Bucs chose three players in the final round of the 2010 draft, and all three of them made the team and contributed significantly in 2010.  Safety Cody Grimm (#210 overall) started nine games at free safety, linebacker Dekoda Watson (#217) was one of the team’s best special teams players and defensive end Erik Lorig (#253) converted to fullback and played extensively in the offensive backfield.  The Lorig selection was made with the Bucs’ one compensatory pick last year.

 

The Buccaneers had two seventh-round picks in 2009, as well, and used them to select cornerback E.J. Biggers (#217) and wide receiver Sammie Stroughter (#233).  Biggers spent his rookie season on injured reserve but was a key member of the secondary in 2010, first as the nickel back and later as the starter at left cornerback after an injury to Aqib Talib.  Stroughter has 55 catches through his first two seasons and has proven to be a valuable weapon in the slot.

 

All five seventh-rounders from the 2009 and 2010 drafts – the first two conducted by General Manager Mark Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris – are likely to be key contributors in 2011 as well.

 

They may welcome two more players to their growing club, as well.  In addition to their new selection at #237, the Buccaneers will also choose at #220 overall.

 

Each year, the NFL disperses 32 extra picks around the league based on net losses in the previous year's free agency period. As the name suggests, the idea of the system is to use the draft to compensate teams whose rosters took a hit in free agency the year before.

 

When a team loses more or better qualifying free agents than it acquires in the previous year it is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The level of compensation is determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors and was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.

 

Only three players figured into the formula for the Bucs' net gain or loss in free agency in 2009. Tampa Bay lost two qualifying unrestricted free agents in safety Will Allen and defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson and signed just one in safety Sean Jones.

 

The Management Council’s formula only produced 21 compensatory picks this year, but the league must distribute exactly 32 extra selections each year.  Thus, additional picks were awarded to the first 11 teams in the first-round draft order: Carolina, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Cleveland, Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee, Dallas, Washington and Houston.

 

Carolina got the most picks and the best overall pick out of the compensatory system this year.  The Panthers were the only team awarded an extra selection at the end of the third round (#97 overall), and they also received one at the end of the sixth round and another at the end of the seventh for a total of three.  Seven teams were awarded two compensatory picks: Baltimore, Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Tennessee.  The Titans and the Green Bay Packers each received a pick at the end of the fourth round.

 

The Panthers’ windfall is mostly the result of one very significant free agent lost: defensive end Julius Peppers, who had a very impactful first season with the Chicago Bears in 2010.  Carolina also lost quarterback A.J. Feeley and did not sign any players who were included in the formula.

 

A total of 555 compensatory picks have been awarded since 1994, a year after the NFL's free agency era began. The Buccaneers have received 18 of those picks, which is almost exactly the league average for 32 teams.

 

The awarding of the compensatory picks also allows for the entire seven-round draft order to be established. Thus, the Bucs now know exactly where each of their 11 picks will fall in April's draft.  Here's a look at Tampa Bay's eight choices in the 2011 NFL Draft as they stand one month before the process begins:

 

Round

Pick

Overall Pick #

1

20

20

2

19

51

3

20

84

4

19

116

5

20

151

6

22

187

7

20

222*

7

37

238*

 

* Dallas and Chicago already used their 2011 seventh-round picks in the 2010 Supplemental Draft.  Thus, the Bucs’ 20th pick in the seventh round will really be the 19th one executed, and it’s 37th pick will really be 35th.

 

The first round of the 2011 draft will be held on Thursday, April 28 and begin at 8:00 p.m. ET.  The second and third rounds are set for Friday, April 29 at 6:00 p.m. ET followed by rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 30 at noon ET.