Steelers compensatory picks projections show three selections likely to be awarded

Mike Ehrmann

The Steelers should expect a third, fifth and seventh round pick given for net loss of players in 2013 free agency.

The process behind compensatory picks in the NFL is a mystery wrapped in an enigma tied around a bunch of other stuff.

However it's determined, it's pretty clear the Steelers will get the top compensatory pick in the upcoming draft due to former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace signing for big bucks with the Miami Dolphins.

Craig Turner, a former writer for Blogging the Beast, predicts compensatory picks with amazing accuracy.Whether Turner actually has the formula or has simply pieced it together over the years, he has a strong grasp of it.

According to Turner, the Steelers can expect to get a third round pick for Wallace, a fifth-round pick for Keenan Lewis and a seventh-round pick for Ryan Mundy.

Thanks to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, we can generally list the factors involved in comp picks:

1. Lost players that are cut or not tendered as RFAs and ERFAs do not qualify.

2. Lost players that were picked up during the season the year before do not qualify.

3. Signed players that are released before midseason do not qualify.

4. Players earning low minimum salaries do not qualify.

5. Each player signed cancels out one player lost.

6. The round of the pick awarded is primarily determined by the annual value of the contract signed. Signed players cancel out lost players with equal contracts, then lower contracts, before canceling out higher contracts.

This dispels the myth the draft position of a departed player or the starting position of that player on his new team have any impact. The signings of Will Gay, Bruce Gradkowski, Matt Spaeth and LaRod Stephens-Howling to some degree may affect the total number of picks acquired.

Neither Turner nor Kempski got into whether the Steelers would be penalized one of these selections based on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stepping on the field during a game against Baltimore in Week 13.

It's been theorized the Steelers were partially motivated to trade up in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft to select Shamarko Thomas because they knew they would get a third round compensatory pick in 2014 for Mike Wallace. That made Cleveland's asking price for that fourth round pick - Pittsburgh's 2014 third round pick - acceptable.

Many have suggested Lewis's departure would have netted a fourth round pick. While Turner appears to disagree with that, Turner appears to have adjusted his thought process from last year, when nearly all of his incorrect predictions were higher than the actual picks awarded.

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