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Lance Zierlein Projects Texans Will Land Three Compensatory Picks In 2018 NFL Draft

Compensatory picks won’t be decided until after the 2017 season, but why not project them now?

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency goes a long way in shaping the futures of many teams. Just below the the surface of free agency, a new key cog of roster construction has emerged—compensatory draft picks.

Many teams have been content to let free agents walk with the promise of being given a compensation in the form of an extra draft pick or three in Round Three through Seven.

Where these picks fall is determined by a proprietary formula that’s based on the departing player's salary, playing time, and postseason honors accumulated with his new team, though salary is the primary factor.

Enter Houston radio personality and writer Lance Zierlein, who took it upon himself to project the 2018 compensatory picks a full season before they are handed out.

LZ projected the Texans will get three picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, including a highly coveted third-round pick for the loss of defensive back A.J. Bouye.

Projected compensatory picks: Three -- Round 3 / Two picks in Round 6

Key free-agent losses: A.J. Bouye (Jaguars), Quintin Demps (Bears), John Simon (Colts)

Key free-agent additions: None

Skinny: The loss of Bouye should result in a third-round compensatory pick for the Texans, while the losses of Demps and Simon should bring sixth-rounders based on their salaries and expected usage

Although other outlets have forecast the Texans landing four compensatory draft picks in 2018, there’s no doubt that the extra ammo afforded by those additional compensatory selections take on added importance in 2018 thanks to the Browns owning Houston’s first and second round picks in 2018 as part of the trades involving Brock Osweiler and Deshaun Watson.

What is a third round pick worth to the Texans? During Rick Smith’s tenure with Houston, it’s meant Jacoby Jones (2007), Antwaun Molden (2008), Steve Slaton (2008), Antoine Caldwell (2009), Earl Mitchell (2010), DeVier Posey (2012), Brandon Brooks (2012), Brennan Williams (2013), Sam Montgomery (2013), C.J. Fiedorowicz (2014), Louis Nix (2014), Jaelen Strong (2015), and Braxton Miller (2016), with the note that D’Onta Foreman was added to that group less than two months ago. Maybe that isn’t a list of glorious picks, but getting a player ranked somewhere in the Top 90 or so in a given draft class isn’t bad, right?

For the immediate future, the bigger question is whether A.J. Bouye on a multi-year deal, or on a one-year franchise tag arrangement, is more valuable to the Texans in 2017 than the third-rounder he’ll net the Texans for leaving.