The NFL awarded compensatory picks on Monday, and teams will look to capitalize with their awarded picks. Teams like the Baltimore Ravens look to be in great position to use their newly acquired picks to improve after a disappointing year.
In a press release the NFL detailed how compensatory picks are awarded and who they were awarded to:
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 224 choices in the seven rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10), which will kick off in primetime for the fifth consecutive year.
Some notable players that were selected with compensatory picks include: Matt Hasselbeck, safety Antoine Bethea, wide receiver Hines Ward, outside linebacker (and recent Super Bowl MVP) Malcolm Smith, and three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
The Ravens were awarded four picks—one in the third round (99th overall), two in the fourth (134 and 139) and one in the fifth (175). In order for the Ravens to bounce back from their poor 2013 campaign they will need to use those picks wisely.
Baltimore is coming off of a very disappointing year, after winning Super Bowl XXXV. The Ravens were 8-8 and did not make the playoffs. According to SportingCharts.com, they were one of only 15 teams to win the Super Bowl and then not make the playoffs the following year.
The Ravens' compensatory picks will be key because they need to replace the pieces that have left in recent years, especially on the defensive side. Also, the picks will allow them to acquire more weapons for Joe Flacco to have at his disposal.
BaltimoreRavens.com's Garrett Downing reported the three biggest needs for the Ravens outlined by General Manager Ozzie Newsome: bigger interior offensive lineman, a reliable wide receiver and an athletic safety.
If the Ravens are looking for bigger interior lineman, then they should target LSU guard Trai Turner with one of their compensatory picks. CBS Sports' Rob Rang said that Turner is a large and powerful guard that can dominate in close spaces.
Despite the Ravens signing former Panther wideout Steve Smith, receiver is still a need for the Ravens. Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis is someone that the Ravens should target with one of their compensatory selections. CBS Sports' Dane Brugler said that Abbrederis "has soft hands" and is "a balanced pass catcher." Abbrederis is the type of receiver that would give Flacco a solid and reliable receiver for years to come.
Other prospects the Ravens could target are Washington State safety Deone Bucannon, Mississippi wide receiver Donte Moncrief and Furman guard Dakota Dozier.
New York Jets
The Jets were awarded four picks as well—one in the fourth round (137) and three in the sixth (209, 210 and 213).
The Jets won two more games in 2013 than they did in 2012 by going 8-8.
The Jets need all the help that they can get—specifically on the offensive side of the football—and the compensatory picks will give them ample opportunities to improve the depth and talent of their roster.
Pro Football Focus states that the Jets' biggest needs are at wide receiver, safety and right offensive tackle.
Even though the Jets recently signed former Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, the Jets still don't have enough weapons for either Geno Smith or recently signed Michael Vick to excel.
The Jets should target Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff with one of their compensatory picks. Bleacher Report's Ryan McCrystal said that Huff looks to best fit as a slot receiver and has elite speed for the position. Huff can be the type of deep threat that could help open up the Jets offense and give them a deep threat that is desperately needed.
Another player the Jets should target is North Carolina tackle James Hurst. Bleacher Report's Alex Dunlap believes that Hurst has the tools to become a good right tackle in the NFL. Dunlap also says that if Hurst doesn't work out at tackle he can be kicked out to guard, another position of need for the Jets.
Other prospects the Jets may target with their compensatory picks include: North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner, Florida State safety Terrence Brooks and South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington.
The Steelers were awarded three picks by the NFL—one in the third round (97), one in the fifth (173), and one in the sixth (215).
The Steelers are coming off of back-to-back 8-8 seasons.
According to NFL.com's draft guru Daniel Jeremiah, the Steelers' major needs are at cornerback, wide receiver and interior defensive line.
The Steelers' compensatory picks are crucial to retooling the Steelers defense and helping to acquire more weapons for Ben Roethlisberger.
Missouri's E.J. Gaines should be one of the Steelers' targets with their compensatory picks. Bleacher Report's Ian Wharton believes Gaines is great in run support (a must to be a Steelers cornerback) and has good speed and coverage ability (especially in zone). Gaines would fit in well with Dick Lebeau's defense.
Another player the Steelers should target with their compensatory pick is Tennessee's nose tackle Daniel McCullers. McCullers is a mountain of a man at 6'7" and 352 pounds. CBS Sports' Rob Rang said that McCullers is great against the run and fits in well with a 3-4 defense. McCullers could give the Steelers a strong force against the run in the middle of their defense.
Other prospects that the Steelers should consider with their compensatory picks include: Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer, Utah cornerback Keith McGill and Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Justin Ellis.