Let’s play a game. If you had your choice of one player in the NFL you could take and put on the Steelers right now who would it be? The team is set at all three skill positions on offense. Tight end you say? Maybe Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce would make the offense nearly unstoppable. Not bad, but defense would have to be top priority right? An inside linebacker like Luke Kuechly or Bobby Wagner to replace Ryan Shazier? Now we’re talking. If it were up to me, a top tier pass rusher would be my choice. I mean after all, it’s going on a decade since the Steelers last had an outside linebacker with double digit sacks. Ok, so who’s the best young pass rusher out there right now? With all respect to the up and coming Joey Bosa, you’d have to take Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack. Sure, sounds great, but the Oakland Raiders would never be so dumb as to even consider moving the 2016 defensive player of the year right? Well this is the Raiders, and if we are to believe the multiple reports coming out of Oakland this just might happen. Mack is currently holding out for a new contract, and there have been no signs of either side budging to this point. Things are getting ugly, with coach Jon Gruden taking a shot at Mack recently saying “The defense wasn’t that good last year anyway”. Rumors have begun to swirl that the Raiders are indeed considering trading their best defensive player.
If the Raiders are really willing to listen to offers on Mack, the Steelers would have to be interested. In fact if he were moved to any other team but the Steelers, I’d argue someone in management should be fired. Mack represents the missing piece to a Super bowl title for this team. Period. End of discussion. We are talking about a 3 time Pro bowler, and a 2 time all pro with 40.5 sacks in his four years in the league. I know there are those out there who are still optimistic about a Bud Dupree breakout season. Count me as someone who’s fully off that bandwagon. No one on this roster has can even come close to the pass rushing skills Khalil Mack brings to the table. Acquiring a talent like this in makes everyone on the defense better. The secondary gets better because of the greatly improved pass rush. TJ Watt gets better because he never sees a double team for the rest of his time in Pittsburgh. In fact who would you double when facing a four man rush with the likes of Tuitt, Heyward, Mack, and Watt? It’s a potentially devastating group to deal with.
Ok let’s talk compensation. Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie you say you want a first round pick for Khalil Mack? Done! You want Bud Dupree and a first round pick? Done! You want a first and third round pick? Done! Point here is, anything they asked for short of Ben or AB should be a done deal I. My opinion. Opportunities like this don’t come around often. Kevin Colbert and company should already be putting their best trade package together……just in case.