During his tenure with the Raiders, Reggie McKenzie’s record of drafting seems largely uneven. For every Khalil Mack and Derek Carr, there is an off pick. As a result, when Jon Gruden takes his seat, he examines the McKenzie draft picks. To discuss the FPC Raiders writers Anthony Zaragoza, Chris Simmons, Ray Aspuria, Kenneth Berry, and Pete Camarillo debate this question.
Since Gruden arrived, he has released/traded many of RM’s picks. Does that say more about the new direction or erasing past mistakes?
Both. Jon Gruden is an alpha male. He knows what he wants and how to obtain it. If a player or scheme is not apart his plan, he will take the necessary steps to change that. So obviously, we know Gruden and McKenzie’s philosophies differ. Therefore, this team needed change. That reflects more on their views on how to run the Raiders.
I think that says a lot about the difference in talent evaluation and expected development. Just because a guy gets cut or traded does not mean he cannot play, look at D.J. Hayden who was largely a pariah but helped up significantly for Detroit. One thing sports fans do not consider remains fit and scheme relative to the new coaching staff. There are serviceable and even very good players who no longer fit schemes and it’s even harder to keep talent and scheme aligned when the *ahem* coaching staves are in flux. More than anything I think these moves say more about Gruden taking ownership of the team, moving forward the mistakes are his more than anyone else’s.
Middle ground on this one. It is a new Gruden-led direction and trimming the excess fat. Shipping the perpetually ineffective Jihad Ward during the draft was Gruden showing the team is not going to carry a high draft pick that is useless.
Gruden wants to erase Reggie’s mistakes but mostly he wants his type of players on the roster. Reggie missed on a lot of pro bowl & All Pro talent on the defensive side of the ball but Gruden being aggressive in free agency and Reggie’s salary cap savvy are the perfect match.
Yes and yes. Gruden dumping draft picks like Jihad Ward and Clive Walford signals a new direction as well as erasing past mistakes. Walford and Ward owned the potential to dominate their positions. Yet, it never happened. Most of that was health but some of it was their own focus.
Moreover, it is clear Gruden wants to build his team around veterans and people who know how to be professional. Gruden will not wait for players he was not invested in.
However, let us not act as if McKenzie has not tried to erase his own mistakes. We have seen draft picks like Sio Moore, Ben Heeney, Neiron Ball, Max Valles and many more cut. We saw Menelik Watson, D.J. Hayden, and others not get re-signed. The point is, McKenzie has erased his own mistakes in the past so we cannot write off that fact that this was probably part of that process too.