Falcons President Rich McKay (from left), General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and owner Arthur Blank watch the Falcons play the Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in December. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / AJC
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / AJC

Falcons pick up four compensatory draft picks

The Falcons picked up four compensatory draft picks for the 2013 NFL draft, the league announced on Monday.

In addition all seven of their picks, the Falcons will have an additional fourth-rounder (133 overall) and three additional seventh-rounders (Nos. 243, 244 and 249).

Under league rules for compensatory picks, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory picks.

Last season, the Falcons lost linebacker Curtis Lofton (New Orleans), wide receiver Eric Weems (Chicago), safety James Sanders (Arizona) and cornerback Kelvin Hayden (Chicago).

The Falcons were pleased with the announcement. General manager Thomas Dimitroff was expecting one pick and possibly two.

The team will be counting heavily on the draft to help improve their defense after releasing cornerback Dunta Robinson and defensive end John Abraham in what Dimitroff termed as business decisions.

The NFL draft will be held April 25-27.

“The next phase after free agency will be the draft, and that is really what our focus is on,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said last week. “We have to make our team better.”

The defense finished ranked 24th overall (356.6 yards per game), 21st versus the run (123.2) and 23rd against the pass (242.3). But in today’s NFL — a passing league where the first team to 30 has the best chance to win — the key stat is takeaways. The Falcons had a turnover differential of plus-13, which ranked fifth in the league.

“We have a plan in place,” Smith said. “Thomas and his staff have done a great job in identifying it. We know there are areas of improvement, not only on the defensive side, but there are areas that we have to improve on the offensive side.

“Our goal, like every offseason, is to acquire the best talent that we possibly can.”

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. 

1st Round (No. 30 overall)

2nd Round (No. 60 overall)

3rd Round (No. 92 overall)

4th Round (No. 30)

4th Round (No. 133 overall) - compensatory

5th Round (No. 30)

6th Round (No. 30)

7th Round (No. 30)

7th Round (No. 243 overall) – compensatory

7th Round (No. 244 overall) – compensatory

7th Round (No. 249 overall) - compensatory

Here's the league's chart with the picks the team will receive and the free agents lost:  

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