When the salary cap era of the NFL began in 1993, many changes came to the league other than just the eponym of this era. One of those changes was the introduction of unrestricted free agency. Another was to reduce the number of rounds in the draft from twelve to seven. However, while there have been officially seven rounds ever since, in truth the total number of draft picks equate to eight rounds. This is due to advent of compensatory draft picks, a entire round’s worth of picks that are distributed among the ends of rounds 3 through 7 that are awarded to teams that lose certain Unrestricted Free Agents (known as Compensatory Free Agents) to other teams.

The formula used to award compensatory draft picks, developed by the NFL Management Council, has never been publicly revealed. However, in the years since 1994 outside observers have been able to determine much of how the formula works, and have created projections in an effort to demystify how compensatory picks work, a process that has confused many an NFL fan. Since 2017, the NFL has allowed Compensatory Picks to be traded like any other pick.

This article looks at the picks awarded to teams in the AFC West. Let’s get started.
Kansas City Chiefs – 6th Round (209 Overall)
Los Angeles Chargers – 7th Round (251 Overall)
Denver Broncos – 3rd Round (99 Overall)
Oakland Raiders – 6th Round (210, 212, 216 and 217 Overall)

Looking at the awarded picks, the Broncos and Raiders won the west. The Broncos received a pick in the top 100. They need a quarterback and already have the number 5 overall pick. With this additional pick, they can package picks and move up if they really like one of the quarterbacks coming out. They could also stay where they are, sign on of the top name free agent quarterbacks and use this pick to get a top offensive lineman.

The Raiders have 4 picks all at the end of the 6th round. Jon Gruden will more than likely want to move up in the draft and get 1 or 2 blue chip players for his horrible defense (minus Mack). I could see him packaging these picks to move up in the draft in either the 2nd or 3rd round to get and extra defensive stud.

The Chiefs have been busy this off season. They traded their starting quarterback and their number 1 cornerback. They picked up a 3rd round pick and CB Kendall Fuller for QB Alex Smith. The terms of the Peters trade have not been released yet but it can be assumed that it is going to be a premium pick or picks. Having an extra pick never hurts.

The Chargers are a better team than most want to acknowledge. Having an extra pick, even a low one, does not bode well for the rest of the AFC West. If this team can stay healthy and fill a few holes, I believe they are a serious contender not only in the division but for the conference.

I think will see the AFC West be very busy during the draft and in free agency. Stand by for what I believe will be a wild ride for the entire division.