Suffice it to say, but Paul Guenther is likely down for this scenario again: Sign prove-it deals in free agency, wait and pounce on nucleus-type prospects in the draft. The Raiders bank on this strategy working.
Ribbed for seeing his side of the ball comparatively ignored prior to the draft, the Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator got six new ingredients in the seven-round spectacle and a few more immediately after as undrafted free agents. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
From fourth overall pick Clelin Ferrell down to 230th overall selection Quinton Bell, neophyte general manager Mike Mayock proved the relationship between coaches and personnel man works.
“Ferrell can play either line of scrimmage and can kick inside, that was important for Paul Guenther,” Mayock said, specifically name dropping the defensive coordinator.
The former TV draft analyst did not stop there, however.
“We loved him, we think he compliments Trayvon Mullen,” Mayock said of fourth-round selection Isaiah Johnson out of Houston. “They are 6-foot 2 that run 4.4, they’re perfect for what we do, we’re a press comer team. Jimmy O’Neill are DB coach, is happier than I’ve seen him. We have long corners to go along with Conley and Worley and all our guys. Bottom line, we’re ecstatic with those corners.”
“We’re excited to get Trayvon,” Mayock continued. “He’s a long corner, almost 6-2, 190 pounds, ran in 4.4s, he fits Paul Guenther’s defense to a T – a long press corner who runs.”
Again, name dropping coaches. The disconnect between coach, personnel man and roster were evident during Reggie McKenzie’s tenure as GM. A quiet and reserved man by nature, when McKenzie brought to light at pressers it was difficult melding philosophies under former head coach Jack Del Rio. McKenzie even mentioned it was easier drafting guys for Jon Gruden because Chucky and his staff were clear on what type of player they want as Raiders.
This continued with a vengeance under Mayock. Moreover, it’s not just reserved for offense and defense. Special teams – often an overlooked part of the football team – saw some upgrades.
Special Teams Value
“Richie (Bisaccia) been all over me in this process and bringing in special teams player,” Mayock said. “If you go down our list, the Clemson kids will play – they love it. Abram was in Richie’s office, think about this, he’s a first round safety and he’s in the coach’s office to say can I play on teams? Richie says I got you scheduled for punt team as a flyer and the kid jumped up and down. Abram wants to be the flyer on punt team.
“Jacobs is a really good kick return guy he played on all of Alabama’s special teams. Isaiah Johnson, that’ll be his initial task. He runs a 4.38, he better get his ass down field and make tackles on punts and kickoffs. He’s going to be a core special teamer for us.”
The Raiders needed a strong draft and Mayock delivered. Now, Guenther must deliver.