In his “Football Morning in America” column for NBC Sports on Monday, Peter King wrote about what he saw and heard in the Las Vegas Raiders’ war room during Round 1 of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.
Among the topics discussed between Las Vegas general manager Dave Ziegler, head coach Josh McDaniels and assistant GM Champ Kelly was the possibility of allowing the Kansas City Chiefs to trade out of the first round — so that the Raiders could be guaranteed to get one of the team’s top targets: Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer.
8:30 p.m.: Two picks left, including Kansas City at 31. Mayer on the mind in the draft room. “If KC comes back to us,” Ziegler said, “wanna do it?”
“Yes,” said McDaniels.
“Best tight end in the draft,” Kelly said.
Short conversation with KC. “Not gonna work,” Ziegler said. KC would have given 31 and 217 (sixth round) for 38 and 70, a net on the points chart of minus-147. “Too many players we like,” Ziegler said.
To put the math another way... the deal on the table would have cost the Raiders somewhere between the equivalent of a late third-round pick on the Jimmy Johnson draft chart to a mid fifth-round pick on the Fitzgerald-Spielberger chart. (Both the Rich Hill and John Dixon charts would calculate the cost as an early fourth-round pick).
But the Raiders — holding pick 38 on Friday night — said no. As it turned out, the Detroit Lions reached for Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta at 34 in the second round. So Las Vegas traded pick 38 for the Indianapolis Colts’ 35th selection to take Mayer there.
Speaking to reporters after Round 1 concluded, Kansas City general manager Brett Veach said there had been multiple calls from other teams about trading up to 31.
“We did have some calls — I think maybe Coach mentioned that,” said Veach. “It’s a situation, though, when you have a guy that is clearly the top guy left. Then the calls that we had were talking mid-40s. It’s a long way away — and then you’re going to end up just trading those picks to try to get back up and get a guy like Felix.
“So we thought, ‘Let’s not get cute here. There’s a guy we like [at a] position of need. We’ll just go ahead and make the pick.’”
But Veach was speaking about the offers where the Chiefs said no. Now we know there was another offer where the other team said no — and Kansas City could have moved back to 38, rather than the mid-40s.
If the trade had gone down, it’s possible the Chiefs still could have landed Kansas State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah in the second round. (The Seattle Seahawks took Auburn EDGE Derick Hall at 37 on Friday night). And then they would have had another third-round pick with which to work... along with the satisfaction of getting some additional draft value from a division rival.
But as often happens... we’ll never know how it would have played out.