How many compensatory picks will Commanders receive in 2023?

The Washington Commanders just recently wrapped up the 2022 NFL Draft, but it’s never too early to look ahead to next year’s showcase. Ok, maybe 11 months is too soon, but it’s still a popular NFL talking point for the time being.

Mock drafts are being published by analysts and writers even though nobody has a clue what the order will look like this time next year. Such is the scenario when as many as five quarterbacks could get drafted in the first round.

For the Commanders, there’s really no point in looking ahead to next year’s draft. The only variable worth speculating on? Compensatory picks.

According to the collective bargaining agreement, teams can only qualify for compensatory picks if they end up with more (or better) qualifying free agents lost than gained. Easy to see why Washington didn’t have one this year.

But what about next year? Lance Zierlein of NFL Media recently projected every team’s compensatory pick inventory for 2023. The draft analyst has Washington notching two comp picks; one of the mid and late-round variety.

The Commanders should receive two comp picks for 2023.

Zierlein projects the Commanders to recoup a third-rounder following the loss of offensive lineman Brandon Scherff and one in the seventh-round following the loss of defensive lineman Tim Settle, who signed with Buffalo.

“Comp-pick analysis: Well, this will be easy. Scherff signed a rich free-agent deal as part of Jacksonville’s massive spending spree, which will net the Commanders a third-rounder, provided Scherff stays reasonably healthy. The departure of Settle should bring a seventh-round choice back.”

The Commanders are one of six teams projected to receive two comp picks, including the Patriots, Giants, Chiefs, Buccaneers and Vikings. The Raiders, Cowboys and Cardinals check in with three projected picks, while the Rams and 49ers sit atop the list with four due to coaching and free-agency player losses.

The comp picks for the 2023 draft won’t be confirmed until after next season, but Zierlein’s projections should give Commanders fans a strong point of reference for what to expect eight months down the road.

While Scherff’s departure is enough to qualify for a comp pick, it’s big the Commanders didn’t sign a big-name free agent to offset the loss. In Settle’s case, we’re actually surprised Zierlein think he’d help the team recoup a seventh-rounder seeing that he played just 20 percent of the snaps last season.

But we’ll certainly take it!

As of this writing, the Commanders own six picks in next year’s draft: first round, second round (unless Carson Wentz plays more than 70 percent of the snaps), third round (unless Wentz plays less than 70 percent of the snaps), fourth round, fifth round, sixth round and seventh round.

If Zierlein’s projections come to fruition, Washington’s tally would grow to eight, with an additional pick in the third and seventh rounds, so there’s a really strong chance they’re able to cancel out the pick lost in the Wentz trade.

Whatever happens with Wentz’s snap count, expect Washington to receive a compensatory pick for the first time since 2020, when they netted one for losing Jamison Crowder, who caught 78 passes for 833 yards and six TDs in 2019.