Latest 2022 Comp Pick Projections Unkind to Steelers

Alex Highsmith -Steelers

Justin Casterline/Getty Images Alex Highsmith of the Pittsburgh Steelers—who was a compensatory pick in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft—walks off the field after a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 28, 2021.

Eight months ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers appeared to be on track to receive two compensatory picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, with one of those expected to be a third-round pick—the compensation for losing outside linebacker Bud Dupree to the Tennessee Titans in free agency.

But circumstances have changed, and according to brand-new projections on the part of Nick Korte of, the 2022 comp pick for Dupree will likely be a fourth-rounder, even though Dupree signed a highly lucrative five-year, $82.5 million contract as an unrestricted free agent.

Korte warned that the Dupree pick might get downgraded in a series of tweets back on November 21, 2021, noting that the former first-rounder wasn’t on pace to play enough snaps to qualify for third-round compensation.

In the end, Dupree appeared in 11 games for the Titans this past season (six starts) and played just 397 defensive snaps. That’s because he didn’t recover as fast as he would have liked from the torn ACL he suffered against the Baltimore Ravens in December 2020; he also missed three games with an abdominal injury.

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Korte’s Latest Projection Indicates the Steelers Won’t Receive a Draft Pick for Losing Matt Feiler

Worse yet, Korte no longer believes the Steelers will receive a second compensatory pick—the fifth-rounder that was initially projected to come their way for losing offensive lineman Matt Feiler to the Los Angeles Chargers in March 2021.

The problem is that Steelers free agent acquisition Joe Haeg played just enough (12 games/2 starts/and according to Korte, 26.2% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps), to cancel out the Matt Feiler compensatory pick.

Meanwhile, Korte believes that Pittsburgh’s acquisition of cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (via trade, in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round pick) will cancel out the loss of slot cornerback Mike Hilton, who signed a four-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals on March 16, 2021.

The best-case scenario is that Joe Haeg doesn’t qualify for a comp pick that cancels out Matt Feiler, in which case the Steelers would receive a second compensatory selection—at the end of round five.

The Steelers Received Just 1 Comp Pick in the 2021 NFL Draft

Recall that a similar situation unfolded last year, when the Steelers initially seemed likely to receive two compensatory picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, including a sixth-round selection for offensive lineman B.J. Finney, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

But when all was said and done the Steelers were awarded just one selection—in the fourth round—for losing nose tackle Javon Hargrave to the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a pick that was used to draft inside linebacker Buddy Johnson (Texas A&M), who had the least impactful rookie season of any of Pittsburgh’s 2021 draft picks, except Quincy Roche, who was released by the Steelers on August 31, 2021, and subsequently claimed off waivers by the New York Giants.

Yet many of Pittsburgh’s comp picks from years past have had long careers with the Steelers, including borderline Hall of Famer Hines Ward and recently-retired inside linebacker Vince Williams.

If past history is any indication, the NFL will announce the 2022 compensatory picks on Friday February 25—or thereabouts.

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