Contrary to reports last week which indicated that the Buffalo Bills would not be receiving compensatory picks, the NFL today awarded the Bills with fourth and seventh round selections. Compensatory picks are awarded based on net free agent loss from the previous off-season; the Bills lost several prominent free agents last season, most notably CB Nate Clements and LB London Fletcher, and those losses led to some nice additional selections for the Bills.
Last week, the official site's Chris Brown reported, via team VP Jim Overdorf, that the team would not be receiving any compensatory selections. My belief that this report was Overdorf preparing for the worst has been proven correct. Even though the Bills added Derrick Dockery, Langston Walker, Jason Whittle and Josh Scobey in free agency last year (they also lost Mike Gandy and Andre' Davis, giving the team no net free agent gain or loss), the Bills will get two extra picks.
That fact alone confirms that not even NFL personnel have a clue as to how these picks are distributed. Net loss/gain has long been rumored to be the predominant factor; clearly, the quality of free agents is taken into account as well.
What This Means for the Draft
I love the flexibility that these two additional picks give the Bills in the draft. With two fourth-round selections and three seventh-round selections - as well as the remaining possibility of trading QB J.P. Losman - the Bills will have extra picks to move up in the second and third rounds if they see fit. This increases the team's chances of adding more than one impact player in this draft (most likely at WR, CB, TE or DE), just as they've done in the last two drafts (Donte Whitner/John McCargo in 2006, Marshawn Lynch/Paul Posluszny in 2007).
Thoughts on this supposedly shocking, but not really that surprising, bit of news?
Update [2008-3-31 15:44:6 by Brian Galliford]: BB.com reports that the overall selections are #132 and #251.