It happened over three seasons ago but the Las Vegas Raiders‘ decision to trade Khalil Mack still stings some of the fan base. He was the best defensive player the team had in years and was arguably the best defensive player in the league while he was with the Raiders. His dominance hasn’t been as profound with the Chicago Bears but he remains one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
Las Vegas has some major issues on the offensive line so Mack has to be salivating at the thought of facing them. In the first game against his former team back in 2019, the Raiders and right tackle Trent Brown shut him down. It’s hard to imagine Brandon Parker or Alex Leatherwood will have the same success. Luckily, Mack retains an excellent relationship with quarterback Derek Carr so hopefully he doesn’t hit him too hard.
“I love him to death,” Carr said of Mack. “He knows that. It’s no secret, everyone knows how close we are. That’s not hidden anyway. Not only is he one of the best players living in the world today. He’s one of the best people and when that trade happened it broke my heart.”
Carr and Mack were drafted together in the Raiders’ excellent 2014 draft class. Those two were responsible for briefly turning them into a playoff team. Unfortunately, the success was short-lived. Carr is only one of four players still on the Raiders played with Mack.
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Raiders Lost the Mack Trade
With over three years passing since the Raiders traded Mack, it’s clear that the Bears won the trade. Las Vegas used the picks acquired from Chicago to select running back Josh Jacobs, cornerback Damon Arnette and wide receiver Bryan Edwards. Jacobs is a great running back but has a very hard time staying healthy. Arnette is playing so poorly that some are questioning why he’s even on the field. Edwards looks like he could be a stud wide receiver but his rookie year was lackluster.
The Bears didn’t fleece the Raiders in the trade, especially if Jacobs can get healthy and Edwards turns into a star wide receiver. However, an elite pass rusher is much more valuable than a top running back and wide receiver.
Raiders Defensive Line Playing at Elite Level
While the Raiders may have lost the Mack trade itself, the defensive line is in the best position it’s been in years. In fact, it may be even better than when Mack was with the team. According to Pro Football Focus, Las Vegas has three of the top EDGE rushers in the NFL right now.
Maxx Crosby is No. 1, Carl Nassib is No. 6 and Yannick Ngakoue is No. 10. Right now, Mack is ranked all the way down at 61. Obviously, that’s not to say that any of the current Raiders pass rushers are better than Mack but it is to say that the silver and black are doing just fine. It may have taken a while, but the Raiders finally figured out their defensive line.