Think Compensatory picks are over-rated? You're not alone, but don't mention that around Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck, Hines Ward, Marques Colston, Antoine Bethea, or the Lions own Bill Nagy. You guessed it, all were selected with compensatory picks. Nagy, as a matter of fact, was drafted with a 2011 7th rounder by the Cowboys out of Wisconsin, and ended up starting four games for them before breaking his ankle and not playing in a regular season game since then.
Compensatory picks a picks are a murky science. They constitue the "Silent 8th round" of the draft, with 32 picks being doled out each year from the third through the seventh round, but the picks are given out by an unpublished league formula which takes a lot of factors into consideration including outgoing free agent contract, net gain/loss by a team in perceived value, etc. And all of this is hearsay and rumor mind you, just dregs from the net with no backing to substantiate it. The net contract value for an outgoing player to be considered compensatory pick worthy is supposedly $890k on a one year deal. A team may receive a maximum of four compensatory picks. The picks can't be traded. The rules also state that players who are cut, traded, or RFA's and ERFA's who are not tendered do not count as a free agent loss/gain.
This is significant, given that Jacob Lacy who the Lions signed, was an untendered RFA of the Colts, and does not count as a gain for the Lions offsetting the loss of Eric Wright. Neither does Drayton Florence, who was released by the Chargers, nor Ron Bartell who was released by the Raiders. As a matter of fact, there is a possibility that the Lions could receive a third compensatory pick for the loss of G Leonard Davis, who signed a one year $925k contract with the 49ers, and was in for over 140 snaps for the team, plus ten in the postseason.
At this point, the Lions can use all the picks they can get.