The NFL awarded 39 compensatory picks to 16 teams on Tuesday, with a decidedly California feel amongst the teams receiving the most selections in the 2022 NFL draft.
The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams each received five additional compensatory picks with the Los Angeles Chargers adding four extra choices. The Detroit Lions took home the earliest awarded pick, getting No. 97 overall at the end of the third round after losing five key free agents and gaining just two in 2021 free agency.
The Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs joined the Rams and 49ers among six teams receiving an extra pick (two in the Niners’ case) as part of the league’s initiative for organizations developing minority candidates to fill the head coach or general manager jobs with a new hiring team.
San Francisco’s haul includes two third rounders (Nos. 102 and 105), two sixth rounders (Nos. 220, 221) and a seventh rounder (No. 262). Both third-round picks come as a result of the departures of two coordinators for head coaching jobs in the past two offseasons, Robert Saleh to the New York Jets in 2021 and Mike McDaniel to the Miami Dolphins this year. Martin Mayhew also departed last offseason to become the Washington Commanders general manager.
The Niners were awarded three total compensatory picks over two years for Saleh and Mayhew and two more choices over two years for McDaniel. The Niners’ three other compensatory selections were awarded based on the league’s standard compensatory formula for players lost and gained during free agency.
Niners general manager John Lynch said at the NFL scouting combine that compensatory picks have become more of an emphasis for the team when evaluating offseason moves.
“I think that’s something that maybe Kyle and I have needed to grow,” Lynch said. “We like being aggressive but that’s also a valuable tool that a lot of the good organizations have tried to take advantage of. In order to do that, you’ve got to let good players go. That’s not something we have loved to do but you have to understand that as many guys we are paying at the top of the market, which is a good deal because we have players that deserve to be at the top of the market, but you can’t keep everyone. So, sometimes playing that comp pick game, I think it’s starting to come.”
The Niners now have 10 total picks in the 2022 draft, though one of the third-round compensatory selections — No. 102 or 105 — will convey to the Dolphins as part of last year’s trade to move up to No. 3 in the draft. The team is awaiting word on which of those choices it will be. The 49ers used that No. 3 pick on quarterback Trey Lance.
The Rams, who beat the Niners in the NFC Championship Game, also gained five compensatory choices: a third rounder (No. 104), a fourth rounder (No. 142) and three sixth rounders (Nos. 211, 212 and 218). The third-round pick is for Brad Holmes’ departure to become the general manager of the Detroit Lions while the others came as a result of the team signing no compensatory eligible free agents while losing end Samson Ebukam, tight end Gerald Everett, defensive lineman Morgan Fox, cornerback Troy Hill and safety John Johnson III.
Since the compensatory pick process was installed in 1994, the Baltimore Ravens have received the most additional choices with 55. The Ravens received two this year, a third-round pick (No. 100) and a fourth-round choice (No. 139) .