2019 NFL Draft: Raiders' first-round picks finally set after Eagles' loss


The Raiders’ NFL draft order finally is set. It took far longer than they had hoped, especially with 2019 draft slots acquired for Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper.

Fingers were crossed that the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys would stink and sacrifice high picks for such star power.

Fortune didn’t smile on Jon Gruden there. His trade partners made the playoffs, pushing first-round picks deep into the 20s.

He should be thankful neither team made a serious run.

The Bears bowed out in the opening round and ended up handing over the No. 24 overall pick as part of larger compensation package that will be paid off over two NFL drafts.

The Cowboys didn’t go down easy, winning a playoff game before the Rams overmatched them Saturday in Los Angeles.

That draft slot wasn’t secured until the divisional round ended Sunday afternoon. Philadelphia’s 20-14 loss to New Orleans locked Dallas’ pick into the No. 27 overall spot.

Every team that loses in a given round of the playoffs is lumped together and then sorted by regular season record. Strength of schedule breaks an equal-record tiebreaker.

The No. 27 pick taken from Dallas will be the Raiders’ last selection of the first round and the third of four selections in the top 35.

The Raiders earned the fourth and 35th picks with a disappointing 4-12 campaign.

An Eagles victory would’ve bumped the Raiders up one spot, which doesn’t seem like a big deal on the surface. But it actually could be the difference in getting the desired player over a backup plan.

That happened last year with the 49ers using the No. 9 overall pick on Mike McGlinchey right before the Raiders were on the clock. Had Gruden won a tiebreaking coin flip with the 49ers, McGlinchey would be rocking silver and black right now.

The Raiders have four early selections at No. 4, No. 24 (from Chicago), No. 27 (from Dallas) and No. 35 overall. That’s a significant cache the Raiders can use to import four top college players turning pro. They also can make a trade moving around the draft board or for an established veteran.

While the Raiders hoped for higher picks this year from Mack and Cooper trades, they still have plenty of top assets to make big moves while rebuilding their roster.

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