Instead, Tampa Bay's three new draft picks come in the seventh round as compensatory picks allocated by the NFL's Management Council for the Bucs' losses in free agency last year. In the spring of 2001, the Bucs lost starting guard Frank Middleton, starting free safety Damien Robinson, tight end Patrick Hape, defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson and linebacker Don Davis, but only signed two free agents -- quarterback Brad Johnson and defensive end Simeon Rice. Because the team lost more free agents than they gained, Tampa Bay was awarded three seventh-round picks (numbers 250, 253 and 255).
There is a formula that helps determine which teams get compensatory picks, how many and in what round (from the third through the seventh) they will receive the picks. But aside from the formula that the league uses, the NFL Management Council also uses subjective reasoning to help determine the recipients of the compensatory picks.
Buccaneer Magazine insiders said that the team had heard a rumor that they would be receiving a sixth-round pick, but getting three seventh-round picks was a pleasant surprise. Now Tampa Bay can use those picks to either trade up in the draft or to select three players who would typically be priority undrafted free agents.
The NFL Draft will take place on the weekend of April 20-21, and now have eight picks, including four in the seventh round.
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