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Patriots Awarded 2015's Top Compensatory Draft Pick

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The Patriots take advantage of the system to receive more draft picks.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has awarded the New England Patriots with two compensatory draft picks in the upcoming 2015 Draft due to their losses in the 2014 free agency period. Teams are awarded a total of 32 compensatory picks, with a limit of four being assigned to any one team.

The Patriots two picks are in the third and in the seventh round. The third round pick is 97th overall, the top compensatory pick awarded.

There is a calculus behind these draft picks and it involves signing fewer free agents than you lose, and factoring in all of their contract values. Players that have been cut from their prior team do not count against their new team.

New England lost Aqib Talib, Brandon Spikes, LeGarrette Blount, and Dane Fletcher, while they added Brandon Browner and Brandon LaFell. Spikes and Blount canceled out the signing of Browner and LaFell, which left the Patriots with the loss of Talib and Fletcher.

Talib is associated with the 97th overall pick. Fletcher is matched with the 253rd overall pick in the 7th round.

And yes, you read that correctly, the Patriots were able to factor in Blount signing with the Steelers, even though he finished the season as a Super Bowl winning running back. Not a bad deal by the New England front office.

It's also important to note how smart the Patriots are during this compensatory awards process. They acquired Talib for a 4th round pick in the 2013 draft, and he turned into a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft. The Patriots picked up Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner for the 2014 season and Revis will turn into a top compensatory pick, likely the 98th overall in the 2016 draft, while Browner will be valued as a max 5th round compensatory pick.

This past season, New England acquired Jonathan Casillas in return for swapping from the bottom of the 5th round to the top of the 6th, and grabbed Akeem Ayers to swap from the bottom of the 6th to the top of the 7th. Both players signed large contracts that could net out to a 5th or 6th round compensatory pick, depending on their impact. This would mean the Patriots effectively traded their 6th round pick for half a season of Akeem Ayers, a 2015 7th, and a possible 2016 6th. That's printing money.

Of course, we'll eventually reach a point of discussion where the value of a compensatory pick is vastly overblown. Players at the bottom of the 4th round aren't a given to succeed, so opting to take a cheap, but proven, veteran is probably a smarter move than playing roulette in the future draft.

But it's also true that teams shouldn't overpay for players because a reward is just around the corner. The rich get richer.

The Patriots now have the following draft picks:

1st - 32

2nd - 64

3rd - 96, 97

4th - 101, 131

5th - None

6th - 177

7th - 219, 253