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NFL Draft 2018: Bengals projected to get 4 compensatory picks

The Bengals should score a nice draft pick for losing Kevin Zeitler. What about Andrew Whitworth?

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have been racking up a lot of compensatory picks in recent years, and it looks like that will continue in 2018.

Last year, the Bengals scored four compensatory selections in the 2017 NFL Draft. That was due to the team losing Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, Andre Smith, Emmanuel Lamur and Reggie Nelson during the 2016 offseason.

You could argue the Bengals had a bigger offseason overhaul in 2017, as Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, Domata Peko, Rex Burkhead, Margus Hunt and Karlos Dansby all departed. That has Cincinnati projected to score four compensatory picks in the 2018 draft, according to Over The Cap.

That includes a third-round pick for Zeitler, a fifth-round pick for Whitworth, and a pair of seventh-round picks for losing Hunt and Dansby.

Bengals 2018 compensatory pick projection

Team Rd Compensated Free Agent APY Snaps Rank
Team Rd Compensated Free Agent APY Snaps Rank
Bengals 3 Kevin Zeitler $12,000,000 100.00% 31
Bengals 5 Andrew Whitworth $11,250,000 88.80% 32
Bengals 7 Margus Hunt $2,050,000 53.70% 620
Bengals 7 Karlos Dansby $1,900,000 86.90% 625

Because Smith was actually re-signed last offseason as an unrestricted free agent following his one-year stint in Minnesota, his addition to the team is expected to negate a sixth-round compensatory pick the Bengals would have received for losing Burkhead last offseason to the New England Patriots.

Also, the addition of linebacker Kevin Minter is expected to negate the loss of Peko to the Denver Broncos in free agency, which also would have been worth a sixth-round pick.

In case you need a refresher, compensatory picks are draft selections awarded to NFL teams who lose qualifying free agents in the prior offseason. Free agents lost to the Bengals in 2017 turn into compensatory picks in 2018.

Salary and playing time are big factors that go into deciding the exact value and placement of a compensatory selection, though the exact formula the NFL uses is still unknown.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself why Whitworth is only netting Cincinnati a fifth-round pick, despite having a contract and playing time that is worthy of a third-round pick.

Well, when a player leaves a team in free agency after 10-plus years, the compensatory pick is limited to being a fifth rounder, at best. The same logic holds true for Peko, though he gets canceled out by the signing of Minter.

All said, the Bengals should, at the very least, get an extra third-round selection and a couple of of extra Day 3 picks. Let’s just hope the Bengals utilize all of them well and don’t end up cutting multiple draft picks before next season. The Bengals wasted fifth-round picks on Jake Elliott and J.J. Dielman, both of whom were eventually cut and landed with other teams.

To be fair, the Bengals ended up making 11 selections last year, and it’s next to impossible to keep all 11 going into the regular season. That’s even more true this year with few key players expected to leave in free agency.