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Compensatory Picks Should Not Be Overlooked

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The NFL recently announced the distribution of 32 compensatory draft picks to mix in with the draft's 221 selections. The Redskins were the recipient of one of those picks — a 7th rounder, No. 252 overall.

If basic math is your strength, you figured out that there are 253 draft selections overall and the Redskins are choosing second to last.

First of all, it's important to understand what exactly a compensatory draft pick is. Using a complex formula based on salary and performance, the league seeks to determine a way to compensate teams for quality players that are lost in free agency. This formula also takes into account the quality of the free agents that this team signs, which could swing the net loss back to neutral.

The only catch for teams is that compensatory selections cannot be traded; otherwise they are like any other draft pick.

This year, 21 picks were awarded to 15 teams between the third and seventh rounds, based on this formula.

In order to fill out the other 11 picks (to have a complete round of the draft), the bottom 11 teams were awarded an additional late-round pick. These are called supplemental compensatory picks. Sitting at No. 10, the Redskins were one of those teams.

Since 1994, when the league first began awarding compensatory picks, the Redskins have received just 12 picks — the seventh fewest of any team.

The team received three compensatory picks in 2000 and 2008, the most they have ever received in a given year, but there were also nine other years when they received none.

Two notable compensatory selections taken in the 2008 draft were Rob Jackson, a defensive end out of Kansas State, and Chris Horton, a safety out of UCLA.

Both taken in the seventh-round (No. 242 and 249 overall, respectively), these two are still contributing role players for the Redskins.

Horton had a breakout rookie season in 2008, starting 10 games and earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month honors. Injuries have limited his playing time over the past two seasons.

Rob Jackson transitioned from defensive end to outside linebacker last season and had a big day against Jacksonville in Week 16. Playing for the injured Brian Orakpo, he tallied up five tackles, one sack for a 15 yard loss and a forced fumble.

An honorable mention among Redskins compensatory picks is fullback Rock Cartwright, a 2002 selection out of Kansas State. Cartwright provided running back depth in addition to being the team's primary kick returner from 2006-09.

Cartwright's highlight on the Redskins came in 2006 when he broke the franchise's single season return yards record with 1,541 yards, eclipsing the mark set by Brian Mitchell in 1994. He was released following the 2009 season and now plays for the Oakland Raiders.

Other recent Redskins compensatory picks include Chad Rinehart, a guard out of Northern Iowa, and Marko Mitchell, a wide receiver out of Nevada. Neither player is currently with the team.

Compensatory picks can be just as important as any other draft selection. Some of the NFL's notable players who were compensatory picks include New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon, among others.

Colston was taken in the seventh round by the Saints in 2006. He turned out to be a draft day steal, starting Week 1 as a rookie. He has earned a Super Bowl ring and is an integral part of the high-flying Saints offense.

What number was he taken? No. 252, the same number awarded to the Redskins in the 2011 draft.

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