The Pittsburgh Steelers will receive a 7th round compensatory draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Compensatory draft picks were byproduct of the first CBA that came in the wake of the Freeman-McNeil verdict, which brought free agency to the NFL.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 24, 2015
The NFL has never released the formula it uses to determine compensatory draft picks, but it is based on the difference between the number of players a team lost, where they were drafted, and how large a contract they signed for vs. the number of players a team signs and the contract value of those signings.
In a nutshell, when you balance the losses of Emmanuel Sanders, Al Woods, Ziggy Hood and Jerricho Cotchery against the signings of Mike Mitchell, Lance Moore, Cam Thomas, Brice McCain, and Darrius Heyward-Bey the Steelers merit an extra 7th round pick.
- Getting an extra 7th round pick might seem like a kid getting an extra fireball added to a Halloween basket, but it is nothing to scoff at.
Yes the Steelers have certainly cut more 7th round picks, compensatory or not, than they’ve either added to the roster or even the practice squad. But there have been exceptions and the Steelers 7th round compensatory pick history shows this is hardly an empty gesture.
Notable 7th round picks during the Kevin Colbert era include:
- Kelvin Beachum, currently the team’s starting left tackle
- David Paulson, who made the roster as a rookie and played another season
- David Johnson, who made a career as a hybrid tight end/fullback
- Brett Keisel, a man whose contributions to the Steelers need no elaboration
Of the quartet, only Brett Keisel was a pure 7th round draft pick. Beachum was a 7th round compensatory selection as was Paulson and so most likely was Johnson.
During every NFL Draft there are good players to be found in every round. The Steelers are unlikely to find a future star, immediate starter, or even immediate back up with their 7th round compensatory selection, but Kevin Colbert’s record shows he can find value even at the tail end of the draft.