Jon Gruden, according to Sports Illustrated, defended the Khalil Mack trade to a top draft prospect earlier this year, saying it helped the Raiders get players like Antonio Brown.
As it turns out, if the Raiders’ trade of Mack helped them get Brown… it may help the Bears get a better player in 2020’s NFL Draft.
The Raiders’ best-case scenario in 2019 never was all that good — maybe third in the AFC West and narrowly avoiding a double-digit loss total. Football Outsiders’ DVOA projections had the Raiders at 7.2 wins before the split with Brown; it’ll be more difficult to hit that mark with Brown, one of the best receivers in the NFL, not playing for Oakland in 2019.
So the Bears could’ve reasonably projected the 2020 second-round pick they got from Oakland in the Mack trade would be, at the very least, in the top 45. It’s not unreasonable to think that selection will be a little higher now, at least in the first 40 picks, if not closer to the mid-30’s if things really go off the rails before the Raiders move to Las Vegas.
Also, in light of the Houston Texans’ trade to acquire good-not-elite left tackle Laremy Tunsil, it feels even more incredible that Ryan Pace was able to snag a 2020 second-round pick in acquiring Mack last year. The Texans gave up two first-round picks — as the Bears did — as well as a second-rounder to acquire Tunsil (who they have not yet signed to a long-term extension). The highest pick the Texans got back from the Miami Dolphins was a 2020 fourth-rounder.
Anyways, the Bears will have these picks in the 2020 NFL Draft:
Round 2 (from Oakland)
Round 6 (from Eagles — could be a fifth-rounder if Jordan Howard hits certain performance benchmarks)
These picks will be hugely important if Pace is able to keep the Bears’ Super Bowl window open with cheap, effective talent (of course, the most important thing: Good quarterback play). Perhaps the draft-aggressive Pace can identify a player he and Nagy like with that Raiders pick, then trade down with his other second-rounder to accumulate more mid-round selections.
And it’ll be a lot easier to do that if the Raiders pick is somewhere in the 30’s.
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