Evaluation of the 2018 Compensatory Picks Projection

As expected, the 2018 compensatory draft picks were released today. As always, upon seeing the official release it’s proper to judge how my prediction did against it. This year, I was able to accomplish what once seemed implausible: I correctly identified to which team all 32 comp picks would be awarded to. But I still wasn’t perfect, as there were some round cutoffs that I still need work on calibrating better.

TeamRd.Compensated Player
ARI3Calais Campbell
HOU3AJ Bouye
DEN3Russell Okung
CIN3Kevin Zeitler
GB4TJ Lang
ARI4Tony Jefferson
NYG4Johnathan Hankins
NE4Jabaal Sheard
DAL4Ronald Leary
CIN5Andrew Whitworth
DAL5Barry Church
GB5Micah Hyde
DAL5Brandon Carr
GB5JC Tretter
GB6Jared Cook
DAL6Morris Claiborne
KC6Nick Foles
OAK6Latavius Murray
HOU6John Simon
OAK6Malcolm Smith
MIN6Cordarelle Patterson
HOU6Quintin Demps
BAL6Lawrence Guy
OAK6DJ Hayden
OAK6Nate Allen
MIN6Adrian Peterson
LAC7Manti Te’o
CIN7Margus Hunt
CIN7Karlos Dansby
ARI7Alex Okafor
TB7Bradley McDougald
ATL7Tom Compton
Compensation over 32-pick limit; not awarded
BAL7Vladimir Ducasse
NYG7Coty Sensabaugh
ATL7Eric Weems
NE7LeGarrette Blount
HOU7Don Jones

Highlighted in green, I got 27 of 32 awarded comp picks correct with the correct player and the correct round. In addition, I got all 5 of the comp picks that missed the 32-pick limit correct, for a total of 32 out of 37. Although the press release did not state the precise order of the comp picks over the 32-pick limit, it did state the five teams that missed out on 7th round picks, and it did so in alphabetical order by city.

Highlighted in yellow, there were 4 comp picks that I had the correct player for, but was off by one round. I overestimated the cutoffs for all rounds, and it knocked these 4 comp picks down a round. All 4 of these round misses involved Green Bay and Dallas. The Packers will only get a 4th for TJ Lang and a 6th for Jared Cook, while the Cowboys will only get a 5th for Barry Church and a 6th for Morris Claiborne.

Highlighted in red, there was just one pick I missed without reasonable anticipation that I may have missed it. I thought that even despite playing only 75% of the offensive snaps, that Ricky Wagner will still be valued as a 3rd rounder in the compensatory formula, and thus deliver the Ravens a 3rd round comp pick for him. But the same cutoff overestimation I described above also affected Wagner, knocking him down to the 4th round. Because Tony Jefferson was also valued as a 4th, this mandated that he cancel out Wagner, instead opening up a 6th rounder for Lawrence Guy.

On a brighter note, I correctly projected the following quirks in the compensatory formula:

  • Despite his eight figure APY, Andrew Whitworth only delivered the Bengals a 5th round comp pick due to having more than ten accrued seasons.
  • JJ Wilcox counted as a CFA signed against Tampa Bay despite trading him to the Steelers.
  • Adrian Peterson qualified as a CFA despite renegotiating his Vikings contract to include a team option that shortened his contract.
  • Martellus Bennett did not qualify due to being cut before Week 10, even though his contract was claimed off waivers.

In addition, I now have high confidence that being named Super Bowl MVP does not factor into the compensatory formula. This is because Kansas City’s comp pick for Nick Foles fell almost exactly where I otherwise thought it would, at the upper end of the 6th round comp picks. Indeed, I am reaching a conclusion that most postseason honors have few, if any, influence on the compensatory formula. The AP All Pro honors are the only ones that I’ve been able to detect any significant difference within the formula.

Finally, although the official press release did not list Malcolm Smith as a CFA lost by Oakland, I have high confidence that this is an unintentional mistake by the NFL Management Council. If Smith really didn’t qualify, I would have expected the Raiders to have received a 7th rounder for Daren Bates that could have been Mr. Irrelevant. Instead, the Raiders got four 6th round picks as expected, and the second of those picks is exactly where I expected Smith to lie in order.