Mar. 18 was another important day during the 2013-14 NFL calendar year for the Tennessee Titans. Although the stories involving Matt Hasselbeck and Ryan Fitzpatrick will earn the most attention, their compensatory picks could pay even bigger dividends for this franchise, both in the short term and long term.
According to titansonline.com, the Titans have received three compensatory picks for the 2013 NFL Draft. Those picks were from rounds three, six and seven. They include picks 97, 202 and 248. For the Titans, this gives them nine picks for the upcoming draft that’s scheduled for Apr. 25-27.
These picks were rewarded to the Titans after they lost three key free agents this past offseason: Cortland Finnegan, Jason Jones and William Hayes. Any team who lost more or better compensatory free agents than it acquired from the previous year was eligible to receive up to four compensatory draft picks. This doesn’t include losses from this offseason (e.g. Jared Cook).
For the Titans, this is a nice boost. They lost their sixth-round pick when they moved up in last season’s draft to acquire defensive end Scott Solomon. In 2012, Solomon had four tackles.
Why does this matter? Having that additional third-round pick will give them more flexibility for trading up in the draft. Such moves could come in the middle or early rounds.
Here’s an example: Dee Milliner falls to No. 8 (Buffalo Bills). The Bills may trade down for more picks. If the Titans wanted to make sure that the No. 9 team (New York Jets) didn’t take Milliner, they could package No. 10 and their non-compensatory third-round pick (70th). Bills get an extra pick and they keep their rival from getting a replacement for Darrelle Revis.
Would that scenario play out? Probably not. But it’s an example of the flexibility that these compensatory picks will give the front office. It’s also worth noting that they can’t trade compensatory picks. They’d have to trade their other third-round selection, which is 70th overall.
Even if the Titans keep all their picks, they can find a quality player in the third round. Someone who can help this team in 2013, not just down the road.