With the draft firmly in the rearview, the Raiders barrel towards the summer. Before that, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock had their hands full with the NFL Draft. As a result, each provided interesting quotes that need some thorough translation.
Gruden, on the move:
“This franchise is moving to Las Vegas. It’s very, very challenging,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said during the draft. “You’ve got to have a lot of maturity. We wanted guys that weren’t only great football players and talents, but guys that can handle the circumstances of being frontline players, leaders and also have a lot of maturity to handle the move of a franchise.
“You’re going to have to move — not only to California. You’re going to have to move to Las Vegas and you’ll have to adapt. It’s a tough league to play in to start with, so we did a lot of work on their character, and Mayock and I truly believe that that’s the winning edge in all the great players that we’ve been around.”
Actually, Gruden hits this one out of the park. Vegas is a far cry from what many players would feel accustomed to. If you’ve never been to Las Vegas, it’s rather impossible to actually prepare. While visiting and living in Vegas appear mutually exclusive, the vibe is the same. The Raiders proactively compiling a roster than can mentally acclimate to the trappings of the city.
Gruden, on the Mayock dynamic. (courtesy NBC Bay Area)
“He’s well respected because of the amount of preparation he does,” Gruden said. “And he’s a great listener and a great teammate too. I think we both have a strong desire to get this franchise going again. It’s an exciting time really because of the future of the Raiders and where we’re heading, players that we’re bringing in. It’s a pretty cool experience with him.”
While this seems overly optimistic, read between line. In 2018, the Raiders fielded a roster of mainly Reggie McKenzie drafted players. Now, this is truly Gruden’s franchise. After a busy free agency and draft, Gruden tied his hopes to Mayock’s talent evaluation.
“There’s a whole different conversation when you’re sitting there with the 35th pick,” Mayock told Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And you’re telling Jon Gruden it’s time to … ‘Hey Jon, I’m going to make this trade to go back to 38 and he’s like, what about my corner? My corner won’t be there,’ and I said to Jon it will be. And we go back to 38 and the corner is still there. I’m like, Jon we have a chance to go back to 40, Let’s go back two more, and he’s looking at me like I’m crazy. We moved back two and he was still there and it’s really fun because Jon was like let’s do it again.”
While questions will exist over Gruden’s hand in personnel, this shines a light on the dynamic. Mayock, through years of dealing with teams as a broadcaster, effortlessly traded down. Mayock could serve as the voice of reason when Gruden fights through an impulsive moment.
Overall, the Oakland Raiders and the future is tied to the both of these men. Whether they can maintain the momentum remains to be seen. However, if their first draft is any indication, the Oakland Raiders could enjoy an era of success.