The Jaguars have received a surprising four compensatory draft selections in the April 21-22 NFL draft. Compensatory picks were announced yesterday by the league, and Buffalo and Jacksonville led the way with four picks each.
Jacksonville received compensatory picks in the third round (94th pick overall), and three in the seventh round (233rd, 235th and 241st overall). Those picks are added to the Jaguars' original picks: first round (13th overall), second round (43rd), third round (73rd), fifth round (142nd) and seventh round (213th). The Jaguars had traded their fourth-round selection for Brenden Stai and their sixth-round pick for Regan Upshaw.
Compensatory picks are awarded by the league in a system that weighs free-agent losses against free-agent gains. In 2000, the Jaguars lost Jay Fiedler, James Stewart, Dave Thomas, Rich Tylski and Upshaw in free agency. Those losses were weighed against the addition of Hardy Nickerson in free agency. Another free-agent loss, Ben Coleman, does not figure into the formula because he was signed by San Diego after June 1.
The NFL's formula for awarding compensatory picks is determined by three factors: salary, playing time and postseason honors. Fiedler, Stewart, Thomas, Tylski and Upshaw all achieved starter status with their new teams. Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
It was expected the Jaguars would receive a couple of late-round compensatory picks, but the addition of Nickerson was expected to cost the Jaguars a high compensatory pick. A third-round pick is the highest compensatory pick awarded.
The additional picks come at a great time for the Jaguars, whose salary cap problems have depleted their roster and have left the club currently at a franchise-low 48 players signed. Replenishing the roster will be considerably easier as a result of the extra picks. Of course, the possibility exists the Jaguars will trade linebacker Kevin Hardy, with whom the team has not been able to reach a new contract, for a first-day-of-the-draft pick.