LB Alshermond Singleton was taken with a compensatory pick in 1997
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been working to stockpile picks for the 2005 NFL Draft since the beginning of the 2004 offseason. The National Football League helped the cause this week by adding one more selection to the Bucs' pile.
Tampa Bay had already drawn together 11 picks in the upcoming seven-round draft before the league announced the awarding of 32 compensatory choices. It's an even dozen for the Bucs now, as one of those 32 picks belongs to Tampa Bay.
The Bucs' new pick will be the 39th selection in the seventh round, the 253rd pick overall. It will also be the third-to-last pick in the proceedings, followed only by compensatory picks by Seattle and New England. These picks may not be traded.
This marks the third straight year that the Buccaneers have been awarded exactly one compensatory pick, which are doled out on the basis of free agency gains and losses the previous offseason. The league has been awarding compensatory draft choices since 1993, the first year of the new collective bargaining agreement. The system is designed to recompense teams that suffered a net loss in players in the previous year's free agency period.
The system isn't based solely on the sheer number of players signed and lost by a specific team, however. Rather, a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors is used to assess the net gain or loss in player value, and not every free agent lost or signed is covered by the formula. The formula as it applied to the Buccaneers' 2004 free agency included seven players lost (Thomas Jones, Shaun King, Warren Sapp, Aaron Stecker, Tom Tupa, Nate Webster and Todd Yoder) and six signed (Keith Burns, Mario Edwards, Charlie Garner, Ian Gold, Jeff Gooch and Matt Stinchcomb)
The Bucs now have three seventh-round draft picks for the fourth time in the last five years. Last year, Tampa Bay's three seventh-round picks netted WR Mark Jones, FB Casey Cramer and CB Lenny Williams, all of whom appeared on regular-season rosters in 2004, albeit with other teams. The Bucs' 12 picks overall include their own selection in each of the seven rounds plus extra choices acquired by trade in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds and this week's added compensatory pick.
The NFL has awarded 32 compensatory picks for the third straight year, equaling the number of teams in the league. This year, the 32 picks were spread among 14 teams, with Philadelphia and St. Louis leading the way with four each. Carolina, New England and San Francisco each netted three compensatory picks.
The extra picks begin at the end of Round Three, where six teams will make additional choices. There are three compensatory picks at the end of Round Four, six at the end of Round Five, eight at the end of Round Six and nine at the end of Round Seven. Tennessee owns the first compensatory pick, which comes after New England's regular pick in Round Three and is number 96 overall.
The Bucs' compensatory pick last year was used on Williams. In 2003, it was a fourth-rounder spent on Northwestern C Austin King. Overall, the Bucs have been awarded 11 compensatory picks over 12 years; the most accomplished player picked up with one of these extra choices is linebacker Alshermond Singleton. Drafted at the end of the fourth round in 1997, Singleton spent six seasons in Tampa Bay and started in Super Bowl XXXVII before leaving for Dallas via free agency.
The 2005 NFL Draft will be held the weekend of April 23-24. The first three rounds will be conducted on Saturday and the remainder of the draft on Sunday. The Bucs are currently scheduled to pick fifth in the first round.