The loss of safety Donte Whitner in free agency last summer netted the Buffalo Bills a small bonus in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft. Put the emphasis on the word small. The Bills got an extra seventh-round pick, the 251st overall, as a result of the NFL's compensatory picks system, the team announced. That's two picks shy of the end of the draft. Teams are awarded compensatory draft picks based on the net results of their losses and gains in unrestricted free agency from the previous offseason.
The Bills lost Whitner to San Francisco and Paul Posluszny to Jacksonville. Whitner started 15 games and played almost all the defensive snaps for his team. Posluszny started 16 and was on the field virtually the entire season. The Bills gained linebacker Nick Barnett, quarterbacks Brad Smith and Tyler Thigpen and linebacker Kirk Morrison in free agency. Barnett played 93 percent of the defensive snaps, according to News figures, cancelling out the loss of Posluszny. Smith made five starts, rushed 20 times and caught 23 passes. The other Bills' additions played very little.
The Bills now have two picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds. The extra fourth-rounder is from the deal that sent Lee Evans to Baltimore. The extra fifth-rounder is from the 2010 trade that sent Marshawn Lynch to Seattle. The Bills got an extra fourth-rounder in 2011 (which they used to take tackle Chris Hairston). They got a conditional pick in 2012. Based on Lynch's good play for the Seahawks last season, that pick rose from a sixth to a fifth-rounder.