Evaluation of the 2015 Compensatory Draft Picks Projection, Part 1

UPDATE (March 26): In light of the news that the NFL erred in awarding three of the compensatory picks, this post has been altered to reflect those changes.

NOTE: I will be in the process of changing OTC’s draft page to calibrate its showing of the compensatory draft picks with the official release.  This may take some time to fully complete.

As you all know by now, the 2015 compensatory draft picks have been officially released. After comparing the press release to my program, here are the results:

  • 22 picks (marked as green) were for the correct player and in the correct round. (As a bonus, the program correctly projected two additional players that ended up over the 32 pick limit.)
  • 3 picks (marked as yellow) were for the correct player but were off by one round.
  • 4 picks (marked as blue) were missed by the program but were anticipated by myself as possibilities. (As a bonus, I also anticipated one of the picks that was over the 32 pick limit.)
  • 3 picks (marked as red) were missed for reasons that neither the program nor myself anticipated before the announcement.


So how did some of these picks get missed? The three yellow lines are pretty self explanatory: I just had the APY cutoffs between rounds a bit off. This promoted Baltimore’s pick for Corey Graham from a 6th to a 5th, and demoted Denver’s picks for Knowshon Moreno and Shaun Phillips from 6ths to 7ths.

Let’s move on to the player qualifications, the biggest question that I had. The following relevant players did not qualify that I thought might not:

  • Marshall Newhouse ($805,000 APY, 34.4% snaps)
  • *Brian De la Puente ($795,000 APY, 46.1% snaps)
  • *Charles Brown ($795,000 APY, 34.7% snaps)
  • *Jarius Wynn ($795,000 APY, 34.0% snaps)
  • Colt McCoy ($795,000 APY, 22.8% snaps)
  • *Danny McCray ($795,000 APY, 16.1% snaps)
  • Darrius Heyward-Bey ($795,000 APY, 11.1% snaps)
  • Javier Arenas ($795,000 APY, 5.4% snaps)
  • Colt Anderson ($795,000 APY, 3.6% snaps)
  • Joe Webb ($795,000 APY, 2.0% snaps)
  • Andrew Gardner ($742,500 APY, 56.9% snaps)
  • Chris Cook ($730,000 APY, 4.7% snaps)

*There was no mention of Dallas nor New Orleans in the press release. Therefore, at least two of these players did not qualify, but perhaps three or all four did not.

As a small pat on the back, I did correctly guess that both Ben Tate and LeGarrette Blount would qualify despite being cut midseason, and I also correctly guessed that Jonathan Dwyer would not qualify due to his placement on the NFI list following his domestic violence arrest.

These non-qualifying players resulted in the five blue lines that I anticipated:

  • Because Marshall Newhouse did not qualify, Green Bay did not get a 7th for him and Cincinnati got a 4th for Anthony Collins. (That’s obviously great news for the Bengals.)
  • Because Joe Webb did not qualify, Carolina got a 5th for Mike Mitchell.
  • Because Andrew Gardner did not qualify, Houston did not get a 6th for Joe Mays.
  • Because Chris Cook did not qualify, San Francisco got a 7th for Anthony Dixon.
  • Because Colt Anderson did not qualify, Indianapolis got a 7th for Kavell Conner.
  • Because Darrius Heyward-Bey did not qualify, Pittsburgh would have gotten a 7th for David Johnson if it wasn’t over the 32-pick limit.

Now onto those unfortunate red lines:

  • Domenik Hixon qualified in favor for Carolina, which caused the Panthers to pick up a 5th for Captain Munnerlyn that I thought could happen, but not for this reason (hence why I’m marking this as red). I did not have Hixon on the radar at all as a qualifying UFA, because although he signed with the Bears before June 1, he was cut well before training camp started. What I did not notice is that Hixon was actually cut with an injury settlement due to tearing his ACL in OTAs. Although Hixon signed a paltry $740,000 deal, the formula clearly has compassion for players who have their contracts cut short for injury. This will be an important fact to stow away for future comp picks.
  • I thought Seattle would get two 5ths and one 6th, but they instead got one 5th and two 6ths. At first I thought Breno Giacomini somehow got demoted, but now I believe he actually got promoted due to playing 100% of the snaps, and I’m speculating the same with Zane Beadles as to why the 4th Denver got for him was higher than I thought. Instead, I’m now thinking the 6th they got was for Brandon Browner, and he had his value lowered due to his four-game suspension. When Browner’s original $5.05 million APY is multiplied by 13/17 (signifying a removal of four game checks), his “new” APY of $3.86 million fits in perfectly on the list, and as a 6th round value.

    For the future, this is an extremely important development for the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys (and their fans), and you probably already know I’m referring to Greg Hardy for the 2016 comp picks. If he is suspended for a lengthy time due to his domestic violence, that could reduce the round of the comp pick that Carolina potentially gets for him, and it could also make the cancellation chart more favorable for Dallas.

  • I thought the fourth comp pick for Kansas City would be a 7th, but it was instead a 6th. The press release said the Chiefs would have gotten picks for Akeem Jordan and Kendrick Lewis if there wasn’t a per-team four pick limit, so we know they weren’t for them. I am guessing that Joe Mays was demoted to a 7th round value due to only playing 10.9% of the defensive snaps. This caused Mays to cancel out Quintin Demps, and opened up a 6th round pick for Dexter McCluster.

UPDATE: these two items below resulted from an error by the NFL.  I’m keeping the text here to help explain where the NFL made that error.

  • Instead of getting a 6th for Ziggy Hood, the Steelers instead got a 7th that was almost certainly for someone else. I am guessing that this 7th is for Ryan Clark, and that he got a boost ahead of Dane Fletcher for playing 97.9% of the defensive snaps. This part is some bold speculation, but my initial guess is that somehow LeGarrette Blount was valued as a 6th instead of a 7th, which would cause him to cancel out Hood, and open up the lowest-available 7th (Clark) up for a pick. Such an upgrade for Blount would fit with New England’s cancellation chart, as a 6th round valued Blount would still cancel out a 6th round valued Brandon LaFell. I have very low confidence in that, however, and I need to investigate it further.
  • Denver somehow got a 6th for Wesley Woodyard instead of Knowshon Moreno. This has to be the case, as Woodyard’s $3.94 million APY fits in perfectly where the pick was awarded, as opposed to Moreno’s $3 million APY (and he also missed most of the season, which should further demote him). This is the one I’m currently stumped on, as Woodyard should have been cancelled out by Emmanuel Sanders (a clear 5th round value), but for some reason he appears to have cancelled out Moreno.

In addition, although this does not show up as a red line in the table above, I also missed that Jeff Linkenbach did not qualify in favor of Indianapolis and against Kansas City. This cost Indianapolis a 7th that I thought they would get for him (though they still got one 7th for Kavell Conner for a different reason). As Jason pointed out in the comments, I had not noticed that part of Linkenbach’s contract included a $150,000 workout bonus, which does not count in determining a player’s APY in the compensatory formula.  Therefore, Linkenbach’s APY should have been $750,000 instead of $900,000.  Had I known that, he would have been placed squarely on the qualification bubble, and I would have written up a scenario in which Linkenbach would not have qualified.

I have declared this to be Part 1 because I anticipate I will have more to tell as I learn more, and there could be implications for the 2016 projections and beyond. Stay tuned for future updates.