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Former Raiders coach not a fan of Khalil Mack trade: ‘You keep those guys’

Jack Del Rio wasn't a fan of the Raiders' decision to trade Khalil Mack. | AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

With the Raiders set to start using the picks they received from the Khalil Mack trade at the NFL draft later this month, discussion continues as to which team came out better in the blockbuster deal.

It’s impossible to properly evaluate Oakland’s haul without seeing what all that draft capital turns into, but for former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, sending Mack to the Bears wasn’t the right call.

“I think Khalil Mack is a future Hall of Fame player,” Del Rio said on NFL Network (via NFL.com). “To me, when you have that talented of a player, you keep those guys.”

Del Rio was the head coach of the Raiders from 2015-17, a three-year stretch during which Mack earned three Pro Bowl nods and the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year trophy. He recognized Oakland got “good value” by receiving 2019 and 2020 first-round picks, a 2019 third-round pick and a 2020 sixth-round pick for Mack and a 2020 second-round pick, but there’s still a lot of certainty over what those picks turn into.

“It’s incumbent on [Raiders general manager] Mike Mayock to turn that draft capital into something really good that can play and get after the quarterback,” Del Rio said. “And so, we’ll find out. The draft is coming up.

“We’re going to find out if they can parlay those picks into something special, but they clearly decided not to pay one of the great human beings and great football players that I’ve ever coached.”

That last line is a reminder of how Mack’s arrival to the Bears not only impacted their defense but their culture as well. He’s widely respected by players and coaches alike, something that’s apparent from Del Rio’s comments.

The Raiders have the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft thanks to the Mack trade. Due to the Mack and Anthony Miller trades, the Bears’ first selection won’t come until 87th overall in the third round.