Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No Comps for Tampa Bay, but Draft Order Set

The NFL has released its annual list of compensatory draft picks, based on free agency gains and losses in the previous year, and Tampa Bay was one of 17 teams that did not receive an additional selection


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't have the luxury of one or more compensatory picks this spring.  They do, however, still have Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood and Quincy Black around.

The NFL announced this year's slate of compensatory picks, 32 selections that will be added to the 2012 draft between the end of Round Three and the final choice.  For the first time since 2009, the Buccaneers weren't on the list of teams receiving at least one of those extra picks.  In essence, that's because the franchise succeeded in retaining the key players it could have lost to free agency last summer.

Each year, the NFL hands out 32 compensatory picks based on action in the previous year's free agency period.  Teams receive draft-pick compensation if they are judged to have lost more or better players who fall into the category of "compensatory free agents" than they gained.  Not all players who change teams fall into this category.

The system also doesn't necessarily generate exactly 32 picks every year, but the league always adds additional choices to get to that number, simply following the established draft order.  This year, for instance, the formula generated 30 picks and the two extra were given to Indianapolis and St. Louis, who drew the first two spots in this year's draft based on their 2011 win-loss records.

Because the compensatory pick process is basically a closed system – one team's free agency gain is going to be another team's loss – the extra selections usually end up hitting about half of the clubs in the league.  That was the case this year, as 15 of the 32 teams gained additional draft assets on Monday.  Cleveland, Green Bay and the New York Jets ended up with the biggest hauls, with four compensatory picks each.

However, the Oakland Raiders might have made out the best with their three picks, as they received the only one that falls at the end of the third round, plus one each at the end of the fourth and fifth rounds.  The NFL lists the compensatory free agents lost and signed by each team that received an extra pick, and it's clear that the driving force in Oakland's strong compensation was the loss of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to the Philadelphia Eagles.

As a whole, the NFC South was only touched lightly by this year's array of compensatory picks.  Like the Bucs, the New Orleans Saints were left off the list, while the Carolina Panthers got an extra sixth-rounder (#207 overall) and the Atlanta Falcons received a lone seventh-rounder (#249 overall).  Atlanta's pick was based largely on the loss of punter Michael Koenen to the Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers likely would have been on the comp-pick list if they had been less successful in re-signing their own free agent starters last July, during the very accelerated open market period that followed a long offseason of labor impasse.  Joseph, Trueblood and Black all signed new deals with Tampa Bay rather than departing, and all three were full-season starters.  Joseph, in addition, was the lone Buccaneer to make it to the 2012 Pro Bowl.  The formula that the NFL's Management Council uses to determine the value of signed and lost free agents takes into account salary, playing time and postseason honors.

Tampa Bay also did not receive any compensatory picks in 2008 or 2009.  However, the team has been on the receiving list more often than not, especially over the last decade.  The Bucs were given an extra seventh-round pick for both the 2010 and 2011 drafts, and had received at least one compensatory pick every other offseason in the last 10 years.  The majority of those picks have been seventh-rounders, but the team did get a fourth-round pick in 2003, which was eventually used on Northwestern center Austin King.  Compensatory picks cannot be traded.

Last year's compensatory pick was used on Idaho tight end Daniel Hardy, who did not make the regular-season roster.  The 2010 extra selection was spent on Stanford defensive end Erik Lorig, who was subsequently shifted to offense and spent a good portion of the 2011 season as the Buccaneers' starting fullback.

The compensatory pick system was put in place in 1993 by the first collective bargaining agreement and first created extra selections in 1994.  Overall, the Bucs have been awarded 18 picks through the system, which is almost exactly the average per-team haul.  There have been a total of 587 compensatory picks doled out, which averages to 18.3 per team.  Baltimore has received the most, with 33; Houston has received the fewest, with four.

While Monday's announcement of the 2012 compensatory picks didn't affect the Buccaneers' total of selections, it did finalize exactly where the team's six current selections will fall.  Prior to that announcement, the Bucs knew only where their first three picks would land, since compensatory picks always start after the third round and thus affect the final draft positions of picks in the fourth through seventh frames.

The Buccaneers own their own picks in each round except the fourth.  That fourth-round pick was traded to Philadelphia last year in the team's move up to the top of Round Four to land Tennessee tight end Luke Stocker.  Some other recent news affected the Bucs' third-round pick slightly; since New Orleans was made to forfeit its 2012 second-round pick as part of the punishment for the "bounty" infractions, Tampa Bay's third-rounder improved from #69 overall to #68.

Here's where the Bucs' six current picks fall in the overall 2012 draft order:






















The Buccaneers will alternate between the fifth and fourth pick each round with the Cleveland Browns.  The two teams finished with identical 4-12 records in 2011 but the Buccaneers' strength of schedule was more difficult, which served as the tiebreaker to give Cleveland the higher selection in the first round.

The 2012 NFL Draft will once again take place over a three-day period in late April.  Round One will be conducted on the evening of Thursday, April 26.  The second and third rounds will follow on Friday night, April 27, and the remaining four rounds will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 28th.

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