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Over the weekend, the news hit that Khalil Mack was being traded from the Oakland Raiders to the Chicago Bears. The rumors were that the asking price for Mack’s services was two first-round picks. Ultimately, this held pretty true, as two first-round picks were the majority of the deal between the Raiders and Bears. This sent NFL twitter into a frenzy on the worth and value of draft picks compared to an elite player at a premium position.

Ben Allbright posed the question, would you trade your favorite team’s first round picks from 2015 and 2016 for Khalil Mack. This question, while hypothetical, helped shed a light on the value of draft picks for each franchise. The basis of using 2015 and 2016 is that we have much more knowledge of those players than the ones selected in 2017 and 2018. I’ve gone team by team to find out the perceptive value two first-round picks for each franchise.

New England Patriots

Malcom Brown
Cyrus Jones (2nd round)

The Patriots lost their 2016 first-round pick due to some absolute nonsense deflategate, but Cyrus Jones was their highest selected player in that draft. Malcom Brown has become a solid interior defensive lineman, but is teetering on being a disappointment for a first-round pick. Cyrus Jones was recently cut from the Patriots. This one is easy.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Miami Dolphins

DeVante Parker
Laremy Tunsil

The Dolphins selected two players with potential, but both have had up and down careers to this point. While they are still young and progressing, they would both need to take impressive leaps in order to reach Khalil Mack level worth. It’s possible that these players reach their ceilings and become household names at their positions, but for now the answer is still Khalil Mack.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Buffalo Bills

Ronald Darby (2nd Round)
Shaq Lawson

Ronald Darby, now with the Eagles, has become a legitimate starting cornerback in the NFL after being selected in the 2nd round in 2015. Meanwhile, Shaq Lawson has been a disappointment thus far into his career, with just 6 sacks in two seasons. Despite Darby’s superbowl ring, this decision is still an easy one as Lawson doesn’t move the needle.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

New York Jets

Leonard Williams
Darron Lee

Leonard Williams is an underrated force on the defensive line, as he is solid against the run and the pass. Additionally, Darron Lee uses his speed to be a good sideline-to-sideline mover and rack up tackles. While both Williams and Lee are above average starters, neither has performed at an elite level quite yet in their NFL careers. Combined, they still don’t quite reach the level of worth Khalil Mack presents.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Pittsburgh Steelers

Bud Dupree
Artie Burns

While Bud Dupree and Artie Burns are athletic young players who have improved, both still leave a bit to be desired. It’s entirely possible that if both continue to figure things out, that they progress to Pro Bowl level. However, it’s a tough sell that they have a combined value equalling an elite EDGE.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Baltimore Ravens

Breshad Perriman
Ronnie Stanley

Ronnie Stanley has developed into an above average starting left tackle after being selected in the Top 10. While not yet elite, he has the tools to ascend into the discussion. However, Perriman was a complete draft bust and has recently been cut, and Stanley alone doesn’t reach Mack’s value.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Cleveland Browns

Danny Shelton/Cameron Erving
Corey Coleman

The Browns had two first round picks in 2015, and used both on talented players who have yet to reach their potential. Corey Coleman underachieved and was traded for pennies to Buffalo before being cut. No matter which combination of these three players are used, Mack is the easy choice.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Cincinnati Bengals

Cedric Ogbuehi
William Jackson III

Ogbuehi has yet to reach his potential, and is seemingly hanging on by a thread to his starting position. While William Jackson III has a high ceiling and played like a top 10 cornerback last year, it’s hard to say if he competes with Mack’s value essentially by himself. So while Jackson is a stud, Ogbuehi doesn’t quite make up the difference.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Oakland Raiders

Amari Cooper
Karl Joseph

The Raiders were the team to trade Mack, so this exercise may have been able to serve as a warning for what to expect in the return on their investment. Amari Cooper had two successful seasons before a bit of regression in 2017, but looks to be on the right path to return to form. Karl Joseph has been an above-average starting strong safety since entering the league, but neither of these players come close to the elite category at their position.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Denver Broncos

Shane Ray
Paxton Lynch

Paxton Lynch was recently cut by the Denver Broncos after minimal playing time for two seasons. While Shane Ray had a nice 2016 season, he struggled to stay healthy and on the field in 2017. Even though Ray should still be a fine rotational pass rusher, he just doesn’t compare to Khalil Mack by himself.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Kansas City Chiefs

Marcus Peters
Chris Jones (2nd Round)

This one is tough. Marcus Peters is a Top-5 cornerback, but comes with apparent maturity issues that had him traded to the Rams for less than expected. Chris Jones was the Chiefs top pick in 2016 despite being a 2nd rounder, but has the potential to be a top defensive lineman this upcoming season. Talent-wise, this would sway the decision towards Peters and Jones, but it’s hard to recognize Peter’s value without knowing his effect on the locker room.

Verdict: A very wary and concerned Marcus Peters and Chris Jones

Los Angeles Chargers

Melvin Gordon
Joey Bosa

Joey Bosa is the best young pass rusher in the league, and may have a ceiling similar to Mack’s level of play. While he isn’t quite there yet, Melvin Gordon is already one of the best running backs in the league. These two young players combine to undoubtedly surpass Mack’s value.

Verdict: Melvin Gordon and Joey Bosa

Jacksonville Jaguars

Dante Fowler
Jalen Ramsey

Dante Fowler has gotten healthy and progressed into a good pass rusher. Fowler is apart of a lethal Jaguars attack with depth, but would start on almost any other team. Ramsey is already one of the premiere cornerbacks in the NFL. With Ramsey’s elite ability and Fowler providing solid play on the edge, I’m taking this duo over the singular player in Mack.

Verdict: Dante Fowler and Jalen Ramsey

Indianapolis Colts

Phillip Dorsett
Ryan Kelly

Phillip Dorsett was an underachiever with the Colts, and is now being relied upon in New England. Ryan Kelly has battled injuries so far in his career, but is an effective Center when he is on the field. While the prospects for these players are starting to look brighter, they do not come close to matching the value of Mack.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Houston Texans

Kevin Johnson
Will Fuller

Kevin Johnson is full of talent, but has had trouble remaining healthy in his career. Will Fuller is a dynamic deep threat who has yet to round out his game as a wide receiver. Though both players have a role they can thrive in, it’s a tough sell that either ever become elite players at their position.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota
Jack Conklin

Probably the most debated one, Marcus Mariota’s value is tough to pinpoint. He had some regression in 2017, but is a talented young quarterback whose efficiency in the redzone and athleticism make him a dynamic threat. Conklin has become a good starter at right tackle, even though the Titans have done a solid job masking his small deficiencies. Together, they are valuable pieces to a young team on the rise.

Verdict: Marcus Mariota and Jack Conklin

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