On Thursday, the NFL announced the compensatory selections for the upcoming draft. The 49ers were awarded a whopping seven compensatory selections in the 2023 draft, adding to the ever-growing list of comp picks they have amassed in recent seasons.
These compensatory selections are awarded to teams as a result of two things. One is from their players signing elsewhere in free agency while having met the criteria defined within the collective bargaining agreement.
The other is through Resolution JC-2A, which is designed to reward teams for developing minority candidates for head coaching and general manager opportunities.
Under the John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan regime, the 49ers have had nine compensatory selections awarded to them. They also have at least another seven coming their way over the next few drafts, a number that still could grow depending on how things shake out moving forward.
I broke down where each of these compensatory picks came from, how the 49ers have used the draft capital they have received from these picks, and what picks they are due to receive in future drafts as well.
The first compensatory pick the 49ers were awarded under the current regime came in their first draft in 2017. It was a fourth round pick that was the 143rd overall selection of the 2017 draft. The 49ers were awarded that pick as a result of Alex Boone signing a four-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings during the 2016 offseason.
The 49ers packaged that 143rd overall pick with the 161st overall pick in the same draft, and sent it to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the 121st overall pick in the 2017 draft. The 49ers used that 121st pick on running back Joe Williams, who never played a regular season snap for the team.
The first compensatory pick that the 49ers netted as a result of a decision made by the current regime came in the 2019 draft. It was a sixth round selection, which they were awarded after linebacker Aaron Lynch signed a 1-year deal with the Chicago Bears the previous offseason.
That sixth rounder was the 212th pick in the 2019 draft, but the 49ers didn’t actually make a selection in that slot.
Instead, they packaged that pick with linebacker Dekoda Watson in a trade with the Denver Broncos that netted them back a 2019 fifth-round pick, the 148th overall in that draft.
The player they ended up taking with that pick Denver sent them? Dre Greenlaw, who has been a key contributor from day one to one of the best defenses in the NFL over the last four seasons.
The next compensatory pick the 49ers received came in the third round of the 2021 draft, when they awarded the 102nd overall selection for the hiring of Robert Saleh and Martin Mayhew, respectively. Because Saleh and Mayhew were hired in the same cycle, the 49ers were awarded one pick in three consecutive drafts, rather than one per hire in two consecutive drafts.
Here is a more complete definition directly from Resolution JC-2A:
“Clubs that develop a diverse employee who is hired in the position of Primary Football Executive or Head Coach at another club, will receive a draft choice compensation in the form of a compensatory draft pick in the third round in each of the next two drafts. If a club has two employees hired for either a head coach or GM position, then that club will receive third-round compensatory pick in the next three drafts.”
The third round selections the 49ers received for these hires came in the 2021, 2022, and 2023 drafts.
With that 102nd pick, the 49ers selected cornerback Ambry Thomas out of Michigan. Thomas saw the field quite a bit as a rookie, and most notably made the game sealing interception to send the 49ers to the playoffs in their Week 18 overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams.
The 49ers also had a compensatory selection in the fifth round of the 2021 draft, which they got as a result of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders signing a multi-year deal with the New Orleans Saints the year prior.
That compensatory pick was the 180th overall selection in the 2021 draft, and the 49ers used that pick to select safety Talanoa Hufanga. Hufanga was just named a First-Team All-Pro selection in his second season, and has been a major part of the 49ers defense in each of his first two seasons in the league.
In 2022, the third round selection the 49ers were awarded for the Saleh and Mayhew hires was pick 102, which was sent to the Miami Dolphins as a part of the trade package that the 49ers put together to move up to the number three overall pick in the 2021 draft, where they selected quarterback Trey Lance.
They still had an additional compensatory pick in the third round, however, as they were awarded the 105th overall pick due to the hiring of Mike McDaniel as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
The 49ers used that 105th overall selection to take wide receiver Danny Gray out of SMU. Gray tallied only one reception on seven targets during his rookie season, but brings an element of speed that should lead to him getting more touches going into year two in the NFL.
The 49ers ended up making a total of four selections via compensatory pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Two of those came in the sixth round, where the 49ers selected defensive tackle Kalia Davis, and defensive back Tariq Castro-Fields with the 220 and 221st overall picks respectively.
Davis missed the entirety of his rookie season rehabbing from an ACL injury, and Castro-Fields is now on the Washington Commanders after he was waived by the 49ers just before the start of the 2022 season. These compensatory picks were awarded as a result of Solomon Thomas and Kerry Hyder Jr. signing elsewhere the year prior.
The most notable of these compensatory picks was the final selection made in the 2022 NFL draft. The 49ers were awarded a seventh-round selection after quarterback C.J. Beathard signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2021 offseason.
The 49ers used the compensatory pick they were awarded from Beathard on another quarterback, selecting Brock Purdy out of Iowa State with the 262nd pick in the 2022 draft.
Purdy notably had a tremendous run of success after being thrust into the starting role late in his rookie season, rattling off seven straight victories and quarterbacking the 49ers to multiple wins in the postseason along the way.
So to review and give a cleaner view of all of these picks in one place, I put together each of the picks the 49ers received and what the ultimate outcome was from the capital they received. I also added a list of the picks they currently stand to receive over the next couple of seasons.
- 2017 4th round pick - Used in trade up to select running back Joe Williams
- 2019 6th round pick - Used in trade up to select linebacker Dre Greenlaw
- 2021 3rd round pick - Used to select cornerback Ambry Thomas
- 2021 5th round pick - Used to select safety Talanoa Hufanga
- 2022 3rd round pick - Used as part of package to trade up for Trey Lance
- 2022 3rd round pick - Used to select wide receiver Danny Gray
- 2022 6th round pick - Used to select defensive tackle Kalia Davis
- 2022 6th round pick - Used to select defensive back Tariq Castro-Fields
- 2022 7th round pick - Used to select quarterback Brock Purdy
UPCOMING COMPENSATORY PICKS
- 2023 3rd round pick - Saleh/Mayhew hires
- 2023 3rd round pick - McDaniel hire
- 2023 3rd round pick - Carthon/Ryans hires
- 2023 5th round pick - DJ Jones signing with Denver
- 2023 6th round pick - Arden Key signing with Jacksonville
- 2023 7th round pick - K’Waun Williams signing with Denver
- 2023 7th round pick - Raheem Mostert signing Miami
- 2024 3rd round pick - Carthon/Ryans hires
- 2025 3rd round pick - Carthon/Ryans hires