When the Raiders traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears just before the start of the season for first-round draft picks in 2019 and 2020, it seemed those picks would have high value.
The Bears, after all, were coming off a 5-11 season in 2017. It seemed likely the Raiders would get a top-15 (plus or minus) draft pick this spring.
Yet Mack helped lead the Bears into the playoffs, and Chicago now appears positioned to be good for a while, with a dominating defense, a young, improving quarterback and some good wide receivers. And, now that the Bears were ousted in the wild-card playoff round this past weekend after going 12-4, we now know that the pick the Raiders received for Mack will be the 24th overall.
The Raiders also received a first-round pick in this year’s draft for trading wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys, and also will be disappointed with that choice. The Cowboys were struggling early in the year and looked anything but like a playoff team at the time of the deal. But with Cooper, they surged into the postseason and won their wild-card playoff game against Seattle. If they continue to win – they play the Rams next – the Cooper pick could be very low.
Meanwhile, the Raiders finished 4-12 and will need a gifted pass rusher and wide receiver as part of the rebuilding process.
They’ll have three first-round picks, of course, with one being the fourth overall. But having the 24th and one that will be even lower certainly make the trades of Mack and Cooper less lucrative than first believed.
Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently called it “a worst-case scenario” for Oakland.
Gehlken noted, too, that Mack has noticed. Mack was dominating for Chicago this season, with 12½ sacks, six forced fumbles, an interception, 47 tackles and 18 quarterback hits. When Mack was asked late in the season – when Chicago was 11-4 – how the trade worked out for the Raiders, he responded, laughing: “How do you think it worked out? I feel like it’s pretty obvious to me.”