Possible Compensatory Picks for Packers?

In the next few days the NFL will announce compensatory draft picks for teams which lost players in the 2006 free agent period.  The NFL has always kept secret the formula it uses in awarding compensation (based on average yearly salary, playing time, and post-season honors for players gained and lost in free agency), but AdamJT13, a poster at KFFL has a pretty good track record in predicting what the awards will be.  He predicts the Packers getting one 7th rounder for the loss of Craig Nall and possibly a 7th rounder for the loss of Grey Ruegamer.  

According to his detailed analysis, Adam has the losses of Mike Flanagan, Ryan Longwell, and Paris Lenon balancing the additions of Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, and (ugh!) Marquand Manuel.  Nall's average salary puts his loss solidly in the 7th-round of compensation category, while Ruegamer is a borderline case, possibly being the last free-agent loss worthy of compensation. It is a very real possibility the Packers will be selecting last in the draft's last round, owning the rights to Mr. Irrelevant for the first time since 1997, when they chose the immortal Ronnie McAda.  (As a side note, Oakland will be getting either a 4th or 3rd rounder for losing Woodson and Seattle seems to be in line for a 6th round pick for "losing" Manuel.  St. Louis signed enough mid-level guys to compensate itself for losing Pickett.)

Packers beat writers have been consistently telling their readers that the Pack won't qualify for any compensation picks, so if Adam is correct, this is an unexpected (though fairly small) boon for the Packers draft "war room".

If this prediction holds true, it bodes well for the Packers, since their free agency losses last year amounted to a beat-up though functional center (Flanagan), a good placekicker / weak kickoff man (Longwell), a mediocre linebacker with decent special teams skills (Lenon), a 3rd-string QB (Nall), and a very replaceable backup interior offensive lineman (Ruegamer).  They gained a solid starting defensive tackle (Pickett), a good-to-very good cornerback (Woodson), and a slice of burnt toast to consistently miss tackles and coverage assignments at safety (Manuel).  I would call the 2006 free agent period a net win for the Packers in terms of talent gained versus talent lost (all their losses were filled with capable, younger replacements), but it seems the NFL will award them for dumping some spare parts while gaining some real talent.  No complaints from this Packer fan!

What does having a few extra 7th round picks mean for an NFL team?  Well, the Packers already have two 7th rounders, their own (#209 overall) and the Jets' (#216, courtesy of everyone's favorite Canadian offensive lineman, Steve Morley, traded to New York a couple of years ago).  Adding one or two more picks to the end of the draft would allow the Packers to get a jump start on the post-draft rookie free agent derby, calling players on the team's radar, letting them know that the Pack might pick them, but if they're not picked, maybe Green Bay would be the right place for them to sign anyway.  The more 7th round picks a team has, the more calls it can legitimately put out to a no-risk potential rookie-free agent.  Just a small boost to the team, but a boost nonetheless.  And there's always the chance of unearthing a Timmerman or a Colston with one of those 7th round picks.

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