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Looking at the Colts’ history of compensatory draft picks

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AFC Wild Card Game: Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Yesterday, the Indianapolis Colts were awarded a fourth round compensatory pick, the 144th overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.

They received the pick as compensation for the loss of Coby Fleener in free agency last year, and the additional pick will surely help their efforts in the upcoming draft. The pick is especially valuable this year, as for the first time ever the compensatory picks are tradable.

This is the highest compensatory pick the Colts have had since 2009, when they were also given a fourth round pick (136 overall). Two times before ‘09 they were also given fourth round compensatory picks (number 135 overall in 2005 and number 136 overall in 2007), while once they were given a third round compensatory selection (a third round pick, number 98 overall, in 2007). In total, this year’s selection is the 22nd compensatory pick the Colts have received since 1994.

Let’s take a look at the others and how they turned out:

1996 - 6th round, 205 overall - Mike Cawley, QB

1998 - 7th round, 231 overall - Corey Gaines, DB

1999 - 7th round, 250 overall - Corey Terry, LB

2003 - 6th round, 208 overall - Makoa Freitas, T

2005 - 4th round, 135 overall - Matt Giordano, DB

2005 - 5th round, 173 overall - Tyjuan Hagler, LB

2006 - 6th round, 207 overall - Antoine Bethea, DB

2007 - 3rd round, 98 overall - Quinn Pitcock, DT

2007 - 4th round, 136 overall - Clint Session, LB

2007 - 5th round, 173 overall - Michael Coe, DB

2008 - 6th round, 201 overall - Steve Justice, C

2008 - 6th round, 202 overall - Mike Hart, RB

2008 - 6th round, 205 overall - Pierre Garcon, WR

2009 - 4th round, 136 overall - Terrance Taylor, DT

2010 - 7th round, 240 overall - Kavell Conner, LB

2010 - 7th round, 246 overall - Ray Fisher, DB

2012 - 5th round, 170 overall - Vick Ballard, RB

2012 - 6th round, 206 overall - LaVon Brazill, WR

2012 - 7th round, 253 overall - Chandler Harnish, QB

2013 - 7th round, 254 overall - Justice Cunningham, TE

2015 - 7th round, 255 overall - Denzelle Good, T

Let’s break all of that down just a bit. Here’s the Colts’ compensatory picks broken down by the round they were in:

Third Round: 1X (2007)

Fourth Round: 4X (2005, 2007, 2009, 2017)

Fifth Round: 3X (2005, 2007, 2012)

Sixth Round: 7X (1996, 2003, 2006 2008, 2008, 2008, 2012)

Seventh Round: 7X (1998, 1999, 2010, 2010, 2013, 2013, 2015)

Of the players drafted with the team’s compensatory picks, they went on to play in an average of 37 games per player, though not all with the Colts. Ultimately, however, only five of the 21 players selected with Colts compensatory picks never played a game in the NFL. The most games played belongs to Antoine Bethea (162), while Pierre Garcon (132), Matt Giordano (116), Kavell Conner (78), and Clint Session (57) all played in more than 50 career games. Per Pro Football Reference, seven of the players selected went on to be the primary starter for a team at their position in a season (Giordano, Bethea, Session, Garcon, Conner, Vick Ballard, and Denzelle Good), while Antoine Bethea is the only Pro Bowler from the group (he’s made three). Denzelle Good is the only one of the picks still on the Colts’ active roster, though a few other players are still active with other teams.

Narrowing in on the fourth round picks, two of the three have worked out fine. Matt Giordano, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2005, wound up playing in 116 games; Clint Session, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2007, wound up playing in 57 games; and Terrance Taylor, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2009, never played in an NFL game. Still, though, among the team’s three fourth round compensatory selections the players appeared in a combined 173 games, which is an average of 57.3 games per player.

There’s not much of this that has a bearing on their current compensatory pick this year, and for the first time there’s now no guarantee they’ll even keep it. But it is interesting to look at who the Colts have picked with these additional selections in the past to see that there can be some real value to them (such as the Bethea pick). There are always plenty of misses in the draft (such as the selection of Taylor with that fourth round pick in 2009), but gaining additional compensatory picks can prove very valuable.