Just how close to the vest is Mike Mayock playing the draft thing? He took his “super-secret” draft binder with him to the bathroom.
Despite the best efforts of many to get the Oakland Raiders general manager to bite and tip his cap on which way the Silver & Black sways as we barrel towards the NFL Draft (April 25-27), Double M isn’t taking the bait.
Case in point: After the Raiders went on a torrid streak of adding impressive pieces on offense (Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, and Tyrell Williams); a reporter asked a proper question of does this allow the team to focus on defense in the draft.
“I think we need to get better everywhere,” Mayock answered without hesitation. “Whenever you make significant signings, what it does from a team needs perspective is maybe it allows you to concentrate in some other areas.
“I’ve always been a big believer in the draft that value is value regardless of position. We’re excited about those first four picks in the first 35. That’s outstanding, but we have to hit everywhere else and that’s the game plan.”
The Potential Haul
Mayock and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden have eight picks to play with in late April, and certainly, four picks in the top 35 is an outstanding position to be in. The team has a fantastic opportunity to bolster the roster even further. Whether that be giving quarterback Derek Carr even more weapons to provide no excuse in 2019 or adding teeth to a toothless pass rush that generated a completely pathetic league-low 13 sacks last season.
Mayock has stated the team is open for business when it comes to their picks and have already gotten interest about their first rounder. As it stands now, the Raiders are without a third-round selection (shipped to Pittsburgh in the AB deal) and a sixth-round pick (sent to Jets along with guard Kelechi Osemele). Whether Oakland maneuvers up or down in the draft remains to be seen, but the scenarios and possibilities are seemingly endless. As are the rumors and innuendo.
Here’s a few:
The top player on the Raiders board is Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa.
Gruden prefers Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins to Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
The Raiders won’t pass on Murray or Haskins if either drops to No. 4.
There is no way Gruden/Mayock take a QB in the first round.
Oakland will trade down from No. 4.
The rumor mill will be churning something fierce when we finally get into April and full-blown haywire the week of the draft. Just you wait.
However, little by little, the Raiders are showing there was a plan and process in place. Gruden along with Mayock are executing it, even though at times it appeared the team was simply winging it.
“We’ve gotten better, we have some resources in the draft that can continue that process and as I’ve said all along, I don’t think you can rush this,” Gruden said. “You have to do what you deem is right. Players don’t become available all the time. You can’t make all the necessary improvements. It takes a little bit of time. But, we’re confident that we’re heading in the right direction.”
The direction becomes even clearer draft day. An event that cannot get here soon enough.