The NFL strives for a level playing field amongst its teams and is in a constant effort to try to keep a balance between lost and gained assets. With unrestricted free agents able to leave during the free agency period, it’s possible for a team to lose more than it gains. Therefore, the league introduced compensatory draft picks as a way of balancing the scale.
Simply put, if a team loses more assets than it gains in a free agency period, they will be rewarded with additional draft picks the following offseason to help make up for the loss.
In February, the NFL will typically assign the official 2023 compensatory draft picks to teams based on their 2022 free agency period. How compensatory picks are assigned is a guarded secret that the league has never explained. Yet, the NFL community has a general idea of how picks are assigned and distributed based on a general design.
OverTheCap’s Nick Korte is considered an expert in this area and on Tuesday, he released his final 2023 compensatory pick projection. If you’re interested in the details behind the projection, you can read his full methodology for assigning compensatory or check out our cliff notes version from last offseason.
Unfortunately, Korte is projecting that the Detroit Lions are not projected to receive any compensatory picks during the 2023 draft cycle.
This shouldn’t be overly surprising as the Lions spent most of their 2022 free agency period re-signing players from the previous year, and only focused on adding a few players. After the designated free agency period closed in 2022, the only notable player the Lions lost in free agency was Jalen Reeves-Maybin, while they added DJ Chark and Mike Hughes, resulting in a net gain of assets, and thus no compensatory pick.
With the NFL playoffs still working toward its conclusion, the 2023 draft picks are not yet officially assigned. Although, at the publishing of this article, we do know that the Lions hold five picks in the top 100, as well as three picks on Day 3 of the draft.
Here’s what we know at this time:
- Round 1, pick 6 overall (from Rams, Jared Goff/Matthew Stafford trade in 2021)
- Round 1, pick 18 overall
- Round 2, pick 48 overall
- Round 2, pick 59 overall (from Vikings, T.J. Hockenson trade in 2022)
- Round 3, pick 81 overall
- Round 5, TBD following compensatory pick assignments — roughly pick No. 153
- Round 6, TBD following compensatory pick assignments (from Broncos, via Trinity Benson trade in 2021) — roughly pick No. 182
- Round 6, TBD following compensatory pick assignments — roughly pick No. 193
Note: the Lions do not have a fourth-round pick (was sent to Vikings in the Hockenson deal) nor a seventh-round pick (Michael Brocker trade in 2021)