The Pittsburgh Steelers may be ecstatic over the fact that they were awarded a surprise third-round compensatory draft pick for the 2017 NFL Draft thanks mostly to the free agency loss of former starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum in 2016, but the rest of the division is celebrating their own hauls as well—all of which are arguably better than the Steelers’.
The Baltimore Ravens are only receiving one compensatory draft pick this year, but they are getting the third-highest in the draft, the 99th overall selection, which is the 35th pick of the third round. The Steelers’ compensatory draft pick comes in at 105th overall, which is the 41st pick of the third round.
The Ravens were actually unusually active in free agency this year, as they tend to prefer relying upon signing players who had been cut by other teams. They made a big splash to sign safety Eric Weddle, believing that they needed an immediate starter there, and he did provide everything they expected. They also signed tight end Benjamin Watson, but he spent the year on injured reserve.
They could have had a greater bounty, however, had they not dabbled as they typically avoid doing. They lost Kelechi Osemele, who signed the biggest contract ever by an interior lineman, as well as veteran backup quarterback Matt Schaub and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
The Cleveland Browns have to be especially happy with their haul, even though it came at a heavy price with a 1-15 record. After losing Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Tashaun Gipson, and others, and gaining only Demario Davis, the Browns were awarded four compensatory picks.
That includes one pick in the third, two in the fourth, and another in the fifth. Third third-round pick comes in at 103rd overall, two spots ahead of the Steelers. They hold the second- and fourth-highest compensatory picks in the fourth round as well, 139th and 142nd overall. Their fifth-round pick is the 183rd overall pick, and the 38th in the round.
The Cincinnati Bengals were also awarded four compensatory draft picks, though none of them will come in the third round. They have one in each of the remaining rounds from the fourth to the seventh. In fact, they hold the highest compensatory picks for the fourth and fifth rounds, as well as the seventh, and the second-highest for the sixth round.
The Bengals did not sign any notable outside free agents during free agency, but they lost several notable players. They lost two of their top wide receivers from 2015 in Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, and they replaced him with a rookie and Brandon LaFell, who was a street free agent.
Cincinnati also notably lost their starting right tackle in Andre Smith, as well as Reggie Nelson, a Pro Bowl safety who had some of his best games against the Steelers.
While the Steelers’ divisional opponents may have reaped the rewards of the compensatory formula more than they have, I believe that all of them suffered greater losses and at greater cost. The loss of Beachum for Pittsburgh was easily weathered by the emergence of a new left tackle, and they still get a third-rounder for him.