The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently returned from the Scouting Combine, having joined the rest of the league in evaluating 337 potential picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. When they left for Indianapolis, they had the means to select six of those 337 players; now they can land seven of them.
On Tuesday, the NFL announced the addition of 32 compensatory picks to the 2020 draft, and the Buccaneers will receive their most valuable selection from the compensatory system in almost two decades. Tampa Bay was awarded an extra pick at the end of the fourth round, the first of eight added choices in that round. It will be pick number 139 overall.
This is the highest compensatory pick the Buccaneers have received since also getting a fourth-rounder in the 2003 draft. Their most recent compensatory pick was in 2018, but it was a seventh-rounder that was eventually packaged in a draft-weekend trade with Buffalo. This is the 20th added selection overall that the Bucs have received through the compensatory process, which began with the first Collective Bargaining Agreement in 1993 and first awarded picks in 1994.
The Buccaneers had anticipated receiving a fourth-round pick this year based on their gains and losses in free agency in 2019, most notably San Francisco's signing of linebacker Kwon Alexander to a lucrative contract. Alexander, wide receiver Adam Humphries, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and linebacker Adarius Glanton were all free agency losses that counted in the compensatory system. Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and punter Bradley Pinion all counted as additions.
The net loss of one qualifying free agent put the Bucs in line for one compensatory pick and the fourth-round placement was the result of a complicated league formula that takes salary, playing time and postseason honors into account, in this case as they applied to Alexander.
The Buccaneers now have seven total picks in the 2020 draft, their own selection in each of the first six rounds plus the fourth-round comp. Tampa Bay previously traded its 2020 seventh-round pick in the deal that sent wide receiver DeSean Jackson to Philadelphia for a 2019 sixth-rounder. That pick was used on wide receiver Scotty Miller.
The only time the Buccaneers have received a compensatory pick higher than the fourth round was in 1997, when they landed a third-rounder and used it on linebacker Alshermond Singleton. Singleton developed into the starting strongside linebacker on the 2002 Super Bowl-winning team. This year's added pick could land the Buccaneers another key performer, or it could help General Manager Jason Licht move around the board with draft-weekend trades. In 2017, the NFL changed the rules on compensatory picks, allowing them to be traded.
This year's 32 compensatory picks were spread out between 15 teams, with New England topping the list with four added selections. Nine teams got a total of 10 picks at the end of the third round. The first compensatory pick, number 97 overall, belongs to Houston.