Compensatory picks don't always produce the most coveted players, mainly because the majority of them are awarded in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. That shouldn't bother the Atlanta Falcons, though, as they've turned several players into quality starters from these picks in recent years.
Thirty-two compensatory picks were given to 16 teams this year. Only seven of those fall in the third or fourth round. The Falcons have four compensatory selections: one in Round 4 and three in Round 7. Looking back at recent drafts, they should be able to find a gem or two with the additional picks.
Daniel Cox, writer extraordinaire from AtlantaFalcons.com, decided to investigate the Falcons draft history. Over the last decade Atlanta drafted six players with compensatory picks. Five of those players are still on the roster today. One was named a Pro Bowler in 2012.
Thomas DeCoud might be one of the best safeties to ever come out of a compensatory pick. Brian Dawkins probably wins that title, for now at least. DeCoud was the 98th overall selection in 2008.
Here are the five other compensatory picks Cox discussed, dating back to 2007.
Martrez Milner, Round 4 (No. 133 overall), 2007: He doesn't play football anymore. Go Dawgs.
Jason Snelling, Round 7 (No. 244 overall), 2007: Only saw 18 carries last season, but finished with 31 receptions and one touchdown.
Kerry Meier, Round 5 (No. 165 overall), 2010: Eternally injured.
Mike Johnson, Round 3 (No. 98 overall), 2010: Should be in the competition for a starting job in training camp.
Travian Robertson, Round 7 (No. 249 overall), 2012: Saw limited action as a rookie, but will see an expanded role with Vance Walker gone.
So, as you can see, that's a decent group for compensatory purposes. If Meier could actually walk from the locker room to the field without suffering a season-ending injury, he would productive as the No. 3 or 4 receiver. Milner was a complete miss. The rest look to be important pieces in 2013.
As Cox notes, DeCoud is one of nine compensatory picks since 2003 to be named to the Pro Bowl. I'm looking forward to the Falcons having two fourth-rounders upcoming. There are still several voids on the depth chart, and Thomas Dimitroff knows how to find quality talent deeper in the draft.
The best compensatory pick in history is clearly Tom Brady. A sixth-round Hall of Fame quarterback? I guess that's good, Patriots. Can the Falcons find their own superstar with the four additional selections next week?