On Friday the NFL handed out the maximum four compensatory draft picks the Bengals expected to give them 11 choices in the April 27-29 draft for their most since they took 11 players in 2009.
But while 11 teams picked up an extra third-rounder, they apparently barely missed out on a third and another fourth when they were awarded the first compensatory pick in the fourth at overall pick No. 138 and the first comp pick in the fifth with overall pick No. 178. They also were awarded a sixth-rounder and seventh-rounder in the shuffle of last year's free agency.
The formula takes into account clubs losing and signing unrestricted free agents based on weighted combination of the average yearly compensation, post-season honors, and play time with the new team ranked against all players on rosters at the end of the season.
The Bengals saw wide receivers Marvin Jones leave for Detroit with an average of $8 million per year and Mohamed Sanu to Atlanta with $6.5 million per year, which netted them the extra fourth- and fifth-round picks. All three AFC North rivals picked up an extra third-rounder with the Ravens getting the 99th pick, the Browns the 103rd, and the Steelers the 105th. The Browns also got the pick behind the Bengals in the fourth at 139 and another one at 142.
The Bengals' homegrown philosophy involves getting compensatory picks instead of relying on big-money free agents. Since the system began in 1994, they have been awarded the ninth most compensatory picks with 28, tied with Buffalo. The Ravens lead with 48, Green Bay is next with 38, followed by Dallas with 37 and New England with 34.
The Bengals have made some hay in the last four rounds in the Green-Dalton Era. The last four sixth-round picks (Rex Burkhead, Marquis Flowers, Derron Smith, Cody Core) have all stuck and contributed to special teams and late last season Burkhead and Core played well from scrimmage when injuries gave them a shot while Flowers is a comp pick from 2014. Marvin Jones and safety George Iloka became starters out of the fifth round in 2012, slot corner Josh Shaw arrived in the 2015 fourth, and last year's fourth-rounder, defensive tackle Andrew Billings, was projected to be a regular until he suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp.
The seventh-round has also worked. Last year rookie Clayton Fejedelem finished tied for fifth in special teams tackles while earning a look in some situations at safety this upcoming season. Wide receiver James Wright, No. 7 in 2014, put his promising career back on track last season after missing all of 2015 with microfracture knee surgery and finished second in teams tackles. Guard T.J. Johnson, the last pick in 2013 with a comp pick, played well off the bench last year to get in the mix if there are changes in free agency.