The Oakland Raiders hold three selections in the first round and five of the top-100 in the upcoming NFL Draft. That’s not new but it is still impactful. How they use those selections depends largely on the dynamic between Raiders GM Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden.
Mayock already said he’s going to defer to Gruden for final say on personnel. The situation is not very crazy according to ESPN. Moreover, Mayock has said he and Gruden ‘are going to know what a Raider looks like and smells like.’ What does that mean?
Draft Bowl Visits
Now, the Raiders new GM has already been seen at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practices. Take that as a sign that Mayock is in the trenches trying to find the next draft diamond as he’s probably already caught up on the top prospects in 2019 due to his former title as a NFL Network analyst.
Still, there are major questions as to what kind of player Mayock will seek throughout the NFL Draft and offseason. Most of those questions come from him not going through this process with snake in the game. Previously, he’s evaluated from a general and objective perspective. Now, he’ll be selecting players and staking his reputation on it.
The previous regime definitely had a strategy to sign veteran players and rely on contributions from rookies. Previously, the 2014 draft class is a great example of what a team can do with a good draft strategy.
Former GM Reggie McKenzie hit on future Pro Bowlers like QB Derek Carr and Edge Khalil Mack as well as solid veterans like DT Justin Ellis and Gabe Jackson in that draft. They even found T.J. Carrie in the seventh round and discovered Seth Roberts as an undrafted free agent.
Across the board, Oakland hit on productive players and developed them. They meshed well and we saw that chemistry when the team hit a high-point in the 2016 postseason run. This upcoming draft class will need to be as powerful on the field and as cohesive off-the-field.
It remains to be seen what that will look like for this new regime. What kind of person will they look for? What kind of locker room will they develop?
It’s safe to say that whoever they select will need to have a high filter for cliches. Between Mayock and Gruden, you can’t write the amount of cliches the former media personalities will share.
Nonetheless, we will have to see how the Gruden and Mayock dynamic will play out. We’ll see what sort of personalities they settle on in aft. upcoming drafts.
Will Oakland target blue-collar workers regardless of school like McKenzie? Or will they go after hi-upside players as Gruden seemingly did in the last draft?
Imagine moving into a new place. You enter with a clean slate that you can do anything. Gruden already cleaned house by shipping out draft misses and underperforming signees. He did the demo day, which will clear the path for Mayock and Gruden to design the property the way they want.
Time will tell how the Raiders front office will evaluate develop players on and off the field. It will definitely be interesting to see what kind of culture Gruden and Mayock decide on through their transactions.