Perhaps the specific talent in the 2019 NFL Draft was a key factor in the Oakland Raiders' decision to trade away All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears Saturday.
Although nothing was confirmed as of Saturday morning, the Raiders reportedly traded Mack to the Bears for two first round picks and possibly a player.
When NFLDraftScout.com this week revealed its top 32 rated players for the 2019 NFL Draft, six of the first seven players were defensive linemen.
Said NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang: "Trading away a young superstar edge rusher like Mack is certainly risky business, but with now two first round selections in a 2019 NFL draft that is expected to feature a historic class of defensive linemen, the Raiders are in a reasonable position to replace him.
"Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa are nearly universally regarded by scouts as the elite talents likely to be available in next spring's draft. Edge rushers Rashan Gary (Michigan) and Clelin Ferrell (Clemson) also possess the combination of initial quickness, length and power to project as immediate impact edge rushers, making them other logical candidates to consider adding to a front that began its youth movement last spring with gifted defensive linemen P.J. Hall, Arden Key and Maurice Hurst, Jr."
In a curious twist of history, this puts Raiders coach Jon Gruden in a position to improve on the results of an infamous previous trade by the team involving – him.
In 2002, Raiders owner Al Davis made one of his many historic moves by trading Gruden, who had a 40-28 record as Oakland's head coach, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their 2002 and 2003 first-round draft picks, 2002 and 2004 second-round draft picks, and $8 million in cash.
That time the Raiders used the two first round picks to take cornerback Phillip Buchanon and Linebacker Tyler Brayton. Buchanon played for five NFL teams and had more notable success as an entrepreneur (developing board games) and a writer. Brayton, who played for three teams without notable success, was considered the other first round in 2003, when the Raiders also selected future All-Pro cornerback Nnambi Asomugha.