The National Football League dispensed 32 supplemental picks in the 2012 NFL Draft on Monday, and it's now up to the teams that received those picks in return for the loss of free agents to turn those extra bites at the apple into solid contributors for their squads.
For the Oakland Raiders, receiving an additional three picks was a gigantic boon, as the team had no picks in the first four rounds, so receiving third-round (95th overall) and fourth-round (129th overall) selections in addition to a fifth-round pick (168th overall) should afford new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie an opportunity to improve the team through the draft.
The Raiders are a team with numerous needs on both sides of the ball, most notably at the offensive skill positions and in the secondary, so it's vitally important that McKenzie and the Raiders make the most of the compensation they received for the loss of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, tight end Zach Miller and offensive lineman Robert Gallery.
With running back Michael Bush now in Chicago, the Raiders definitely need to acquire a running back to complement the talented but oft-injured Darren McFadden, and the Raiders could replace one bruising runner with another by using their third-round choice on Temple running back Bernard Pierce, who punished opposing defenses to the tune of nearly 1,500 rushing yards and an eye-popping 27 touchdowns in 2011.
Oakland could then turn to the defensive backfield in the fourth round, as four games against Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning will sorely test a pass defense that allowed more touchdown passes than all but one team in the National Football League last year.
A cornerback such as Donnie Fletcher of Boston College should be available at the tail end of the fourth round. Fletcher struggled a bit at the Senior Bowl in January and somewhat surprisingly did not receive an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine.
However, the 6'0", 201-pound senior, who had 35 tackles and two interceptions a year ago, has a nice combination of size and speed and hopes to rebound from his injury-marred final year as an Eagle and his combine snub, as he recently told CSN Sports Northeast:
"I was a little disappointed. Every year I look on NFL Network and see those DBs working out and end up seeing them go in the Draft. But when I didn't get the invite I was just like, 'I can only control what I can control,' and that's my Pro Day. I just took it as it came. I just worked a little harder; it gave me a little bit more motivation. I just try to take the positive out of what was given to me."
For the Green Bay Packers, the awarding of compensatory picks was a case of the rich getting richer. While the loss of defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins in free agency a season ago was a blow, the two extra fourth-round (132nd and 133rd overall) picks that the Pack were awarded should afford general manager Ted Thompson the chance to upgrade a defense that ranked dead last in the National Football League in 2011.
The Packers need help badly in the secondary, so the team may take a look at a cornerback such as Fletcher with one of their picks, but many of Green Bay's defensive deficiencies can be traced back to a pass rush that ranked 27th in the NFL in 2011, making improving the defense in that regard a priority.
San Diego State outside linebacker Miles Burris could be a solid fit were the Packers to address the pass rush with one of their "bonus" picks, as the 6'2", 246-pound senior has 17.5 sacks over the past two seasons and has some experience rushing the passer from the outside of the Aztecs' 3-3-5 defense.