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Why don't the Redskins get compensatory draft picks?

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Why don't the Redskins get compensatory draft picks?

It’s become an annual tradition. During March owners meetings the NFL announces the awarding of compensatory draft picks. The Redskins don’t get any or get some leftover crumbs. Fans complain and say there is a conspiracy against their team.

But there really isn’t an anti-Redskins bias on Park Avenue (well, in matters not involving the interpretation of “uncapped year”, anyway). The way the Redskins do business keeps them from being awarded extra picks in the draft.

The exact formula for awarding the picks is a secret, something that doesn’t help when Redskins fans, or fans of any other team left out in the process, cry foul. All we get in the way of explanation is this from the press release announcing the picks:
“Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. . .

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.”
The first paragraph is the key when we’re talking about the Redskins. They are a team that signs a lot of free agents so in any given year and, historically, players who leave the Redskins aren’t highly coveted by other teams. The number of free agents they sign is usually going to be greater than the number that they lose.

You get compensatory picks by letting players that other teams might value walk when their contracts expire and you replace them with either your own draft picks or with players who have been cut by other teams as they do not count in the formula. For example, last year the Ravens lost Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Ed Reed, and Cary Williams. The only free agent they signed was Elvis Dumervil, who had been cut by the Broncos. So they ended up with comp picks in the third and fifth rounds and two in the fourth.

If you look at the teams that have received the most compensatory picks since the system started in 1994 (go here and scroll down to the third page), you see some of the most consistently successful franchises in the NFL. There have been 20 Super Bowls since the system started and 15 have been won by teams in the top 10 in terms of the most comp picks awarded. That’s right, 75 percent.

Do the actual picks awarded help the teams to be successful? Or does conducting player personnel business in a manner that leads to getting awarded picks lead to success? Without doing extensive research, the answer is probably a little bit of both. Getting the extra picks makes it easier to build through the draft and that leads to getting more compensatory picks.

Back to the Redskins, they are 28th in compensatory picks received since the system was started. It’s well known that they talk a lot about building through the draft but when it comes down to it they fill holes with free agents. Of the 22 projected starters for this coming season, nine were drafted by the Redskins.

Not getting compensatory picks does not necessarily doom a franchise to failure. The Saints have had fewer over the years than the Redskins and they won a Super Bowl not too long ago. And the Broncos are 30th in comp picks and they were just in the Super Bowl. Still, building through the draft and collecting a few comp picks along the way certainly is the most consistently way of building a winning team.

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.