The Oakland Raiders used the first round pick obtained in the Khalil Mack trade to draft a running back.
The Khalil Mack trade was one of the biggest acquisitions in NFL history. When the trade was announced, people were shocked that Jon Gruden traded arguably the best edge player in the league.
Yes, the price was steep. But from the Chicago Bears perspective, it was a no brainer. Mack elevated the defense to elite levels and has proven his worth in just one season.
Raiders fans were cautiously optimistic. They knew that Mack was a big loss, but the bottom line was that the Raiders got two first round picks out of the deal. Raiders fans didn’t want to crush the Mack trade until they had a better understanding of what value the Mack trade would net them.
It didn’t help that the Bears were a worst-to-first team that made a draft pick that Gruden thought would be around 10th fall all the way down to 24th. So when draft day came in 2019 and the Raiders were on the clock, they chose to select Josh Jacobs out of Alabama.
First, let me say, there’s nothing wrong with selecting Jacobs where the Raiders did. He was projected to go in the late first round and that’s exactly where he went. However, it’s the position that would have to make you scratch your head.
Jacobs is a running back and a very good one at that. He doesn’t have special talent like Saquon Barkley, but he should provide the Raiders with a solid ground attack for the next few years.
The problem with the selection is that Jacobs is, well, a running back. There is no position with a lower diminished first round value than running back. The talent drop off from first round talents to third round talents is minimal. Not only that, their shelf life at the NFL is almost always a short one.
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So when the Raiders acquired Mack, the 2019 first round pick was the most valuable asset they received (remember the 2020 first required the Raiders send a 2020 second back) from Chicago. So when the result of that trade is that the Raiders used that asset on a running back, it has to make Bears’ fans smile everywhere.
Alabama running backs have been hit and miss. There have been very good ones like Mark Ingram, ones with short shelf lives like Eddie Lacy, and duds like Trent Richardson.
Josh Jacobs is a versatile back that should develop into an asset for Oakland, but for how long? Trading away one of the best assets in the NFL for a running back is not how winning franchises are built.
Raiders fans will now cross every finger they have in hopes that Jacobs is the next Marshall Faulk. Because if Jacobs isn’t the type of back that one day ends up in Canton, the first tangible asset the Raiders acquired for Mack simply will never be enough.