With the recent chatter that the Las Vegas Raiders offered a contract to Jadeveon Clowney, it’s clear that would still like to beef up their defensive line. This was clear shortly before the draft when the team was involved in trade talks with the Jacksonville Jaguars for Yannick Ngakoue. That trade never went through and the Raiders didn’t draft a defensive lineman throughout the entirety of the draft.
It appears the team is keen on adding a proven Pro Bowler to go along with their young guys. Though Ngakoue hasn’t been dealt yet, he still would like to move on from Jacksonville. Chris Roling of Bleacher Report recently suggested that the Raiders and Jaguars could still pull off a trade:
It would take a team with a penchant for massive moves to make something happen.
A team like the Las Vegas Raiders.
Those Raiders aren’t strangers to big transactions—like a Khalil Mack or Antonio Brown trade. Losing the former still isn’t something the organization has recovered from (32 sacks as a team last season), so shipping first- and second-round picks to Jacksonville to fully hit win-now mode makes sense.
Ending the saga at that compensation point would be a boon for Jacksonville, and the Jon Gruden regime in Las Vegas would take another step toward perceived contention in an AFC West that just had a Super Bowl winner.
A 1st & 2nd Round Pick for Ngakoue Is Way Too Much
Ngakoue is a very talented pass rusher and would certainly help the Raiders. However, there’s no way he’s worth a first and second-round pick in a trade. He’s not even signed to a long-term deal. His trade value since the draft has decreased, not increased.
Ngakoue is a lock to at least give the team eight sacks but that kind of production isn’t worth that much draft capital. If he averaged closer to 12 sacks a year, then yes, he’s worth a lot. The Raiders clearly like him but if he’s traded for, he’s going to expect a big payday. That’s just too much investment for the team right now. Now, if they could get him for just a second-round pick and change, then the team could consider it. Anything more than that and they should take a hard pass.
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Is Ngakoue Better Than Clowney?
What also doesn’t work in favor of the idea of a potential Ngakoue trade is that Jadeveon Clowney is still on the market and the Raiders are reportedly interested. It’s hard to say who’s a better player. Outside of last season, the two typically put up similar sack production. Ngakoue is probably the better pass rusher while Clowney is the superior run defender.
However, Ngakoue has only missed one game in his career where Clowney has missed 21. He has all the talent in the world, but he has a really hard time staying healthy. If they were both free agents, Ngakoue would probably be the safer bet to give a big contract to. That said, Clowney wouldn’t require a trade so if the Raiders feel like they need to add a pass rusher before the season starts, then he would probably be the better option.