Who needs your own draft picks when you’ve got compensatory picks?
On Thursday, the NFL announced compensatory draft picks for the upcoming NFL Draft, and the 49ers, as expected — and even a little more than expected — got an absolute haul.
Their draft class was slated for four picks that were non-compensatory, with two in the fifth (their own and one from Miami) and two in the seventh (their own and one from the Denver Broncos).
Now, they’ve got 11 draft picks, with the league giving them three third-round selections, one in each of the fifth and sixth rounds, and two in the seventh.
According to Nick Korte, the compensatory draft pick expert for OverTheCap, seven picks is a league record. Most of the reason for that is because traditional compensatory picks are doled out for free agent losses, and teams can only acquire, at most, four of those (which both the 49ers and Rams did).
Where did they all come from? As far as the third-round selections go, they’re all from the NFL’s diversity hiring rules established a few years ago.
San Francisco has lost Robert Saleh (New York Jets), Martin Mayhew (GM, Washington Commanders), Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins) and in this last cycle, DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans) and Ran Carthon (GM, Tennessee Titans), netting eight third-round picks over a five-year span. This is the rare year when the draft rewards all of those hirings collide.
The 49ers got three, in 2021, 2022 and now 2023 from Saleh and Mayhew’s hirings in the same cycle, two from McDaniel in 2022 and now 2023, and three from Ryans and Carthon in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The fifth-round pick they got was from losing D.J. Jones. The sixth was from losing Arden Key. The two sevenths were from losing K’Waun Williams and, discernibly, Raheem Mostert.
Only one seventh-round compensatory pick was expected, with Mostert and Oren Burks expected to cancel each other out, per OverTheCap, but Burks did not count as a compensatory free agent for the Packers, so San Francisco’s draft haul goes to 11.
The 49ers secured seven of 37 compensatory picks that were doled out, nearly 19 percent of the total. The Rams, with four compensatory picks (four from free agents, like the 49ers), were second.
It’s an opportunity for a lot of bites at the apple at a time when San Francisco could use cheap, long-term options. But it’s also a reminder that just one of those 11 picks is in the top 100 (three in the top 102), so it’s going to be a year that leans heavily on area scouts stumping for under-the-radar players.