Raiders

Why Raiders won award for Khalil Mack trade at MIT Sloan conference

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Why Raiders won award for Khalil Mack trade at MIT Sloan conference

Daryl Morey is rooting for a team from ... Oakland?

The Houston Rockets general manager, whose Warriors obsession does not quite equate to fondness, told The Athletic's Vic Tafur he is "rooting for the Raiders" this season. The reason is even more surprising than the geography.

The Raiders won the Alpha Award at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston for "Best Transaction."

The deal?

Trading Khalil Mack (and a second-round pick) to the Chicago Bears for first-round picks in 2019 and 2020 and a third-round selection in 2020. 

“Everybody else thought it was a terrible trade, but draft picks are very valuable,” Morey told The Athletic over the phone Saturday. “Analytics tends to fly in the face of popular convention pretty often. We don’t care about what people say.”

Morey was a member of the voting panel and co-founded the conference. When he called Raiders president Marc Badain to tell him the Silver and Black took home the award, Badain thought it was a joke. 

"I had to tell him several times that I wasn't kidding," Morey said. "I guess they took a lot of heat for that."

That is an understatement. Mack finished the 2018 season with a half-a-sack fewer (12.5) than the Raiders did as a team (13), and made first-team All-Pro for the third time in the last four years. 

The 28-year-old also led the Bears to their first NFC North title (and a playoff berth) since 2010. That means the first-round selection the Raiders will ultimately receive is No. 24 overall, which is far lower than the team initially envisioned. 

[RELATED: Raiders reportedly hosting multiple veteran linebackers]

Of course, that pick is now one of five first-rounders the Silver and Black will have at its disposal in the next two drafts. That gives the Raiders a sizable opportunity to reshape their roster in the wake of winning just 10 games over the last two seasons.

The Mack trade was responsible for two of those selections, as well as the Raiders' newfound silverware. Morey said he was told the trophy is on Gruden's office desk. 

Whether any other trophies join the collection depends, at least in part, on what the Raiders do with the picks they got for Mack. 

Mike Mayock's thought on Raiders' last three first-round draft picks

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Mike Mayock's thought on Raiders' last three first-round draft picks

Mike Mayock is one of the most respected minds in the NFL Draft community.

When he was a draft analyst for NFL Network, his word was gospel. Now, the Raiders get to benefit from his wisdom.

So, what did Mayock think of the Raiders last three first-round drafts? We're glad you asked.

In 2016, the Raiders selected West Virginia safety Karl Joseph with the No. 14 overall pick. He struggled during his first two seasons, but 2018 was seen as a breakout campaign for the 25-year-old.

Here's what Mayock wrote about Joseph when the 2016 NFL draft had concluded:

"With his range, toughness and ability to drop down in the slot and cover man, he's like a poor man's Earl Thomas. He says he models his game after Brian Dawkins. Some say he's much like Bob Sanders. This is a dynamic playmaker."

Joseph certainly hasn't lived up to the Earl Thomas comparison. Thomas is a three-time First Team All-Pro. After three seasons, Joseph isn't at that level yet.

The next year, the Raiders addressed the secondary again, picking Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley at No. 24. It was a risky pick due to the baggage that came along with Conley. Just before the draft, he was accused of rape.

Injuries cost him most of his rookie campaign, but Conley played in 15 games in 2018, and finished with three interceptions and 37 total tackles.

At the time, Mayock focused on Conley's legal troubles when he wrote this:

"You can't make that pick and be wrong because your owner is gonna hold you accountable for it if this kid ends up with any kind of jail time."

Two years later, Reggie McKenzie is out as general manager.

Last year, the Raiders wanted Mike McGlinchey at No. 10, but the 49ers snagged him at No. 9. So Oakland traded the No. 10 pick to Arizona No. 15 and two later picks. They used the No. 15 pick to select UCLA offensive lineman Kolton Miller.

Miller had his ups and downs during the 2018 season. At one point late in the season, he was leading the league in sacks allowed. But big things are still expected from him, and some pressure will taken off Miller with the addition of high-priced free agent Trent Brown.

Here's what Mayock wrote about Miller at this time last year.

"They get the No. 2 offensive tackle in this draft to put behind Donald Penn, the incumbent left tackle. He can start on the right side. He only answered the bell 23 times in three years. Durability is a concern."

[RELATED: Mock draft has Raiders trading up for a QB]

Miller erased any concern about his durability by starting all 16 games as a rookie.

Now, instead of critiquing the Raiders draft class, Mayock is in charge picking the players others will critique.

NFL.com mock draft has Raiders trading up to No. 2 for ... a quarterback

NFL.com mock draft has Raiders trading up to No. 2 for ... a quarterback

The 2019 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and we hope you've soaked in as many mocks as you can possibly handle. If not, how about a game-changing one?

NFL.com's Chad Reuter's devised a mock that had some "selections that may be off the beaten path." Basically, a mock that would shake things up -- which we love.

This included five first-round trades, one of which has the Raiders projected to move up to take ...  a quarterback.

"Projected trade with the 49ers. Jon Gruden gets his quarterback [Drew Lock] by moving up two spots," Reuter writes. "Gruden coached Lock at the Senior Bowl, and it's easy to see him appreciating the former Missouri quarterback's demeanor and physical tools. If he doesn't move up to get him, Miami or Denver could make a deal with the Jets to land the Mizzou QB."

The Raiders, as you know, have Derek Carr pegged as the starter next season, but newly hired general manager Mike Mayock mentioned that as much as they love Carr, the team is "going to do all of their due diligence." They complimented the three-time Pro-Bowler, but Mayock made it clear that at that position, and every other position if they found someone they liked better and "had bigger upside," then they would do what they need to do.

[RELATED: Raiders send scouts home over lack of trust]

It was also reported the Raiders are "super impressed" with Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

All moves appear to be on the table.