The free agent exodus from their 2013 Super Bowl-winning team did have one benefit for the Ravens who will be compensated well in May’s draft.
For the second straight year, the Ravens were awarded four compensatory picks, bringing their total number of selections to eight. The New York Jets also got four.
Because of their free-agent losses last offseason, the Ravens garnered extra picks in the third-round (99th overall), two in the fourth (134 and 138 overall), and one in the fifth (175 overall), the league announced tonight at its annual meetings at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes hotel.
That leaves them with one pick in each of the first, second, fifth and sixth rounds, and two each in the third and fourth rounds.
The added compensatory picks, which – by rule - can’t be traded, help make up for the three 2014 draft picks that the Ravens traded last year to augment the team’s offensive line. The Ravens traded a sixth-round selection to the Indianapolis Colts last May for center A.Q. Shipley. Then, in October, they sent a fourth and a fifth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for left tackle Eugene Monroe.
The Ravens ultimately got a conditional draft pick back from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for demoted left tackle Bryant McKinnie. However, that pick is in the 2015 draft. They also yesterday traded a 2015 fifth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for veteran center Jeremy Zuttah.
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more, or better, free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The maximum number of compensatory picks a team can receive is four, and players who are released before signing with a new team don’t factor into the equation.
The Ravens lost a number of key free agents from their Super Bowl team, including linebackers Dannell Ellerbe (signed with Miami Dolphins) and Paul Kruger (signed with Cleveland Browns), cornerback Cary Williams (signed with Philadelphia Eagles) and safety Ed Reed (signed with Houston Texans).
Meanwhile, their primary free agent additions – a group that included defensive linemen Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, strong-side linebacker Elvis Dumervil and safety Michael Huff – all were released by their respective teams before signing with the Ravens. They also signed middle linebacker Daryl Smith, but that deal came after June 1, and also didn’t figure into the compensatory process.
The Ravens have been awarded 41 compensatory picks since 1995, the most in the league during that span. In last year’s draft, they used their four compensatory selections to take fullback Kyle Juszczyk (fourth round), offensive tackle Rick Wagner (fifth), center Ryan Jensen (sixth) and cornerback Marc Anthony (seventh).
The NFL draft starts May 8 with the first round. Rounds two and three will be on May 9 and rounds four through seven are on May 10.
The Ravens, who finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007, will pick 17th overall after losing a coin flip with the Dallas Cowboys at last month’s NFL Scouting Combine. The Cowboys, who will draft 16th overall, and the Ravens finished with identical records and strength of schedule, necessitating the coin flip.