As Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com pointed out in a Friday blog post, his good friend Craig Turner has become quite the expert at predicting compensatory draft picks that teams will receive for the net loss of their free agents. In fact, last year Turner correctly predicted the right team and round of 24 of the total of 32 compensatory picks awarded by the league, and was off by one round on five others.
Turner has now released his predictions for this offseason and has the Pittsburgh Steelers receiving three compensatory draft picks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Turner has the Steelers receiving a third-round pick for the loss of Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins and a fifth-round pick for the loss of cornerback Keenan Lewis to the New Orleans Saints. These match what I recently predicted, however, Turner also has the Steelers receiving a seventh-round pick for the loss of safety Ryan Mundy to the New York Giants, but even he admits that he's not too sure about that.
Ryan Mundy is the big wild card. He signed for $780,000, a relatively low amount, and played 667 snaps. I think that qualifies him as a significant contributor to the team, and with players at barely higher salaries and much fewer snaps counted in past years, I think Mundy qualifies for the comp pick equations.
Personally, I didn't predict compensation for the loss of Mundy because he signed a veteran qualifying contract for the minimum and also because he only played 57.4% of the total defensive snaps last season with the Giants. In addition, the Steelers signed running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who I have pretty much canceling out Mundy, even though he was lost for the year to a knee injury in the season opener. It could go either way.
Compensatory draft picks are usually announced at the NFL owners' meetings, which occur this year in late March, so we have several more weeks of waiting until we know for sure what the Steelers will be awarded.