On Tuesday, the NFL announced the full list of 39 compensatory picks awarded for the 2022 NFL Draft. For the Detroit Lions, that includes three extra picks they will have come April. They were awarded a third-round pick (97 overall), a fifth-round pick (177), and a sixth-round pick (217).
Compensatory picks are awarded to teams based on their activity in the previous year’s free agency. In short, teams who spend less in free agency, but see more of their own free agents signed by other teams are awarded draft compensation for their loss in talent.
Last year, the Lions saw several of their own free agents sign elsewhere, as general manager Brad Holmes overturned the roster from the previous regime. Most notably, the Lions let Kenny Golladay walk, and he signed the biggest contract of free agency — hence Detroit getting in return Pick 97, the highest compensatory pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Detroit’s fifth-round pick was the result of Marvin Jones Jr. signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, while their sixth-round pick was due to linebacker Jarrad Davis signing with the Jets.
Detroit also saw players like Jamal Agnew and Matt Prater sign elsewhere, but those signings were offset by the Lions adding Breshad Perriman and Jamaal Williams to the roster in free agency, as our own Erik Schlitt explained in his compensatory pick projection in January.
Interestingly, due to the Lions’ previously aggressive nature in free agency, this is the first time since 2016 that the Lions have received any compensatory picks, let alone three— the Jacksonville Jaguars hold the longest streak without a pick, now at 12 years.
With these extra picks, the Lions are expected to have between eight and 10 draft picks in 2022, as there is still some debate over two seventh-round picks based on conditions of past trades. What is clear, though, is that the Lions currently have five picks in the top 100.