The idea of value is often thrown around regarding the draft and, specifically, the cost of trading up or down. A few years back, I read an interesting article by Dan Pompei regarding how compensatory selections allow a team to have what amounts to more "bargaining chips" to use on draft day. A link to the article is available after the jump.Read this. While dated (Dan Pompei, now of the Chicago Tribune, originally wrote this for the Sporting News in the March 12, 2007 issue).
Something hardly ANYONE knows; a one Tom Brady was a compensatory pick.
Obviously very few picks that late work out like that. However, the bottom-line is that these extra-selections allow you to use your other picks more aggressively.
The commonly understood "discount rate" on selections is "a selection in X-round this year is X-1 in the subsequent year." In other words, a 3rd in 2012 becomes a 2nd-round selection in 2013, etc. As such, a 6th-round pick this year becomes a 5th in 2013...that 5th can then become a 4th in 2014, etc. Next thing you know, with this pattern repeating, that 6th round selection in 2012 is a 1st-round selection in 2017.
If this doesn't mean anything to you because of the length of time, I'll ask you this:
In 2006, the Browns sixth-round selection was Lawrence Vickers with their pick and, via a pick acquired from Baltimore, Babatunde Oshinowo. Now, obviously my long-term focused look costs us one of the all-time greatest fullbacks ever but, despite that, I'd rather have another top 32 pick this year.
And maybe that pick could have been offered to the Rams for a certain trade that didn't occur; just sayin'.
In general, the idea of compensatory selections is I think very valuable as it relates to certain positions. Rufio recently posted the DBN Big Board and defined value in terms of position as well, stating " How rare are good players at a given position?"
This concept has been readily applied to running backs in the last few years as the key operant word for them in terms of value is "fungible" (i.e. good young backs are replaceable at a lower cost and give comparable, if not better, performance than the veteran backs they often replace). As such, one can view letting certain other "fungible" position players go (e.g. a second-string tight end, a fullback, most 4-3 outside linebackers, etc.) in an off-season and, potentially, receive draft choice compensation for them that or the following off-season. Not only can such positions be replaced at a lower-cost with potentially increased performance, a team can also gain further "tokens" to exchange for other players.