As has been anticipated since the 2017 free agency period, the Dallas Cowboys have received a nice haul of compensatory picks for the 2018 NFL Draft. These picks are awarded based on the players a team loses in free agency compared to the players they sign.
The Cowboys will receive the following picks in April’s draft, which takes place in Arlington, TX this year, at AT&T Stadium.
- 4th round (for Ronald Leary)
- 4th round (for Barry Church)
- 5th round (for Brandon Carr)
- 5th round (for Morris Claiborne)
The level of picks is based on the contracts the departed players signed with their new teams, as well as their playing time and performance during the first season. The Cowboys’ free agent signings last year were minimal; Nolan Carroll, Stephen Paea, Byron Bell, and a few others. None of their contracts or playing time offset the top players that Dallas lost.
Dallas actually qualified for compensatory picks in the 6th and 7th rounds (Terrell McClain, Lance Dunbar, etc.) as well, but the maximum any team can receive in a single draft is four. The Cowboys will happily take the extra mid-round selections instead.
With these picks, Dallas now has 10 total selections in the 2018 Draft. They did not have their original 5th-round pick after trading it last year to acquire safety Xavier Woods.
With these extra selections in the middle rounds, the Cowboys will hope for more of their recent success. Most notably, a compensatory 4th-round pick in 2016 brought them QB Dak Prescott. They’ve also added WR Ryan Switzer and LBs Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson with 4th and 5th-round picks in the last few drafts.
Mid-round picks are never guaranteed to make it, so having more spins at the wheel is never a bad thing. We’ll see what Will McClay and his crew can do with these extra opportunities in a few months.