OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders won’t learn until next week whether they’ll have the ninth or 10th overall selection in the NFL draft in April. They do know the sixth round will be extraordinary.
On Friday, the club was awarded four compensatory draft picks, tied for most in the league, the NFL announced. Each of those four selections falls in the sixth round. The Raiders now enter the draft process with 11 picks, including six in the sixth round.
The NFL awarded the Raiders the No. 210, 212, 216 and 217 overall selections. Such compensatory picks are dispensed based on a formula weighing the value of compensatory free agents acquired and lost during a previous offseason. Player salary, playing time and postseason honors are variables part of that calculation.
In 2017, the Raiders did not sign a defensive free agent of consequence. Tight end Jared Cook, tackle Marshall Newhouse and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson were the only players who qualified as compensatory free agents.
Meanwhile, they parted with safety Nate Allen, linebacker Daren Bates, cornerback D.J. Hayden, wide receiver Andre Holmes, defensive tackle Stacy McGee, running back Latavius Murray, tight end Mychal Rivera, safety Brynden Trawick and offensive tackle Menelik Watson.
The Raiders don’t own a fifth-round pick, having dealt it to the Seattle Seahawks for running back Marshawn Lynch’s rights. In exchange, the team received Seattle’s sixth-round choice.
A coin toss at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis will determine the Raiders’ draft position. They finished 2017 with the same regular-season record and strength of schedule as the San Francisco 49ers. To force the tie, the Raiders incidentally lost their final four games, and the Niners won their final five.
Teams are permitted to trade compensatory picks, so general manager Reggie McKenzie is afforded flexibility with how he handles the sixth round. Historically, he has stockpiled late-round selections — he used four seventh-round picks in 2017 — to acquire players he otherwise would hope to sign as undrafted free agents. McKenzie used those four picks on safety Shalom Luani, offensive tackle Jylan Ware, running back Elijah Hood and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.
The first round of the 2018 draft is scheduled for April 26 in Arlington, Texas.
The second and third rounds are April 27, and the final four are April 28.