Mack For Your Team's 2015/2016 First Round Picks: Who Says No?

Photo: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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

Dallas Cowboys

Byron Jones

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott is one of, if not the, best running back in the NFL. Byron Jones has been moved around a bit and it has stunted his growth as a player, but has settled into cornerback nicely and is an above average starter. While both are obviously contributors, the value of the running back position does not match that of an elite EDGE, even with a nice piece in Byron Jones added on to it.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

New York Giants

Ereck Flowers

Eli Apple

Two of the biggest disappointments and underachievers in recent memory, Flowers and Apple do not come close to matching Khalil Mack’s value.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Philadelphia Eagles

Nelson Agholor

Carson Wentz

Nelson Agholor had a breakout 2017 campaign and had a huge part in the success of both Eagle quarterbacks, but this isn’t really about him. Carson Wentz played at an MVP level for much of 2017, and even after his injury and potential regression, giving up a successful young quarterback with his potential would be foolish, even for Khalil Mack.

Verdict: Nelson Agholor and Carson Wentz

Washington Redskins

Brandon Scherff

Josh Doctson

Brandon Scherff has become an outstanding Guard for the Redskins, despite being projected as an offensive tackle. Doctson is a talented receiver who has yet to remain healthy and really produce. While Scherff is a great player, his positional value lags behind Mack’s, and Doctson does not do enough to make up the difference.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Minnesota Vikings

Trae Waynes

Laquon Treadwell

Both Waynes and Treadwell underwhelmed to begin their careers, but have begun to progress into solid players. While still young, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that they can continue to get better and up their combined value to match a player like Mack, but for now they are not there yet.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Green Bay Packers

Damarious Randall

Kenny Clark

Damarious Randall, now in Cleveland, is a solid starting cornerback when healthy. Clark is a potential rising star on the defensive line, and is still only 22 years old. While both players will be NFL contributors for a long time to come, they don’t quite measure up to Khalil Mack.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Chicago Bears

Kevin White

Leonard Floyd

Obviously the Bear do not have to worry about this, as they were the beneficiaries of the Khalil Mack trade. However, in theory: Floyd has become a decent rotational pass rusher for the Bears, but is a bit of a disappointment for a first-round pick. Kevin White has underachieved when on the field, which has been a rarity so far in his career.  

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Detroit Lions

Laken Tomlinson

Taylor Decker

Taylor Decker is a good, young offensive tackle for the Lions. However, Laken Tomlinson was a massive disappointment and was jettisoned to San Francisco, where he isn’t guaranteed to start. Though Decker’s future is bright, he doesn’t quite match the value of Khalil Mack.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Los Angeles Rams

Todd Gurley

Jared Goff

This was borderline the easiest one to decide. Jared Goff proved in 2017 that he was a franchise quarterback and worthy of the #1 overall selection. Todd Gurley was the best running back in the NFL in 2017. While the prospects of an Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers front is enticing, the offensive firepower is too much to give up.

Verdict: Todd Gurley and Jared Goff

Seattle Seahawks

Frank Clark (2nd Round)

Germain Ifedi

Frank Clark was the highest pick for Seattle in 2015 in the late-second, but has turned into an impressive pass rusher. However, he comes with some struggles against the run and some apparent locker room issues. Germain Ifedi is an inconsistent offensive lineman who gets beat by pass rushers too regularly.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

San Francisco 49ers

Arik Armstead

DeForest Buckner/Joshua Garnett

Arik Armstead has battled injuries during his career that have prevented him from progressing or producing. DeForest Buckner, the better of the first-round picks from 2016, is becoming one of the premiere players at his position. However, it’s hard to say if Buckner will truly reach the level of Mack, and with essentially no help from Armstead, this decision is clear.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Arizona Cardinals

D.J. Humphries

Robert Nkemdiche

D.J. Humphries and Robert Nkemdiche have both had flashes of talent so far in their NFL careers, but have mostly been uninspired. While both ooze talent, neither has taken a leap into even consistent above-average play.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston

Vernon Hargreaves

This is one of the more interesting debates, as you have an effective young QB who is years beyond himself as a player, but wildly immature off the field. Winston’s talent is there, but his leadership and mentality may never come around. Hargreaves has underachieved so far in his short career, and he may have been able to move the needle here had he lived up to expectations.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

New Orleans Saints

Andrus Peat/Stephone Anthony

Sheldon Rankins

Andrus Peat has developed into a good left guard when healthy, but has had some struggles with injuries. Sheldon Rankins has underwhelmed in his first two professional seasons, unable to make a consistent impact and appearance in the starting rotations. Though Peat is a strong player, these two don’t yet equal Mack’s value.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Atlanta Falcons

Vic Beasley

Keanu Neal

Vic Beasley had a breakout 2016 campaign that got him named to the All-Pro team, but with it came the label that he may be a tad overrated. Keanu Neal is a dynamic safety who is a ball magnet. Together, they form a young duo that get provide pressure and blanket receivers over the middle, putting their combined value slightly above Mack’s.

Verdict: Vic Beasley and Keanu Neal

Carolina Panthers

Shaq Thompson

Vernon Butler

Shaq Thompson is a solid, yet slightly uninspiring for a first-round pick linebacker. Meanwhile, Butler has struggled to contribute in nearly any way since entering the league. Though Thompson is a fine player, Butler’s near absence makes this an easy decision.

Verdict: Khalil Mack

Looking back at the 2015 and 2016 drafts, I believe only 7 of 32 teams would prefer their first-round picks to Khalil Mack. The Raiders obviously have faith in their scouting department, but will now need to draft in the top-quarter of the NFL in order to get a return on investment similar to Khalil Mack. Some of these can be debated, and going with the sure-thing as the Chicago Bears did will usually make the most sense.

Written By:

Brad Kelly

NFL Draft Analyst

NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Wide Receivers Coach at Salve Regina University. Salve Regina Football ‘15.

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