Better Late Than Never: Comp Pick in Rd. 5

A.J. Smith has been counting on a compensatory pick for the free-agent defection of Donnie Edwards last offseason. What he wasn't counting on was waiting until round five to execute the selection. But that's now the case for the Chargers, who have only one pick in the first four rounds.

The NFL announced today that the Chargers will be granted the only compensatory pick in the fifth round of the draft, No. 166 overall. The pick is a disappointment to A.J. Smith, who had been hoping for a third-rounder and expecting a fourth.

Compensatory selections, which are often viewed as afterthoughts by casual fans, play heavily into Smith's offseason thinking. One of the reasons he refrains from the free-agent market is the opportunity to win back talent with compensatory picks.

That is why Smith doesn't mind seeing high-end players like Michael Turner and Drayton Florence walk out the door.

"When a player goes, we know what the value is," Smith said. "The maximum we can be awarded is a third-round draft pick. Big contracts make me happy, because the following year we're going to end up with a couple of draft picks."

Apparently the three-year, $14 million contract signed last year by Donnie Edwards was not enough to net the Chargers the pick they were looking for. The team will now have to fill its numerous vacancies--defensive back, offensive tackle, running back--with only one selection in the top 150.

The disappointing placement of this compensatory pick may force the Chargers to jump into the free agent pool or trade away players to recoup draft picks, something Smith has expressed a willingness to do.

"Right now we're short on picks, but that could change with some wheeling and dealing," Smith said. Insiders can click here for a list of the veterans believed to be on the trading block.

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