Raiders

How Mike Mayock plans to approach his first NFL Draft as Raiders GM

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AP

How Mike Mayock plans to approach his first NFL Draft as Raiders GM

Most of Mike Mayock’s NFL draft prospect evaluations reside in the public domain. The Raiders general manager got paid to voice his opinions on the NFL Network, leaving video clips and epically conference call transcripts as evidence on how he views talent.

He was also charged with matching talent with team needs, providing insight from relationships within NFL organizations. There was nobody better than Mayock in doing exactly that.

“My job was to be in all 32 buildings,” Mayock said a few weeks back, during a sitdown with Raiders beat writers at the Senior Bowl. “I had a team that wanted to hire me several years ago that looked at that as an advantage. They were like you’re not scouting for any one team. You’re scouting for the whole league the way you have to do it and they liked that. They also liked the fact that I had a lot of information on a lot of coaches and GMs around the league and what they prefer.”

Then, Mayock broke down Hall of Fame former GM Bill Polian’s tendencies. Polian didn’t like to move around. He preferred players from big schools, and always wanted to secure “his guy.”

Bill Belichick was next, and Mayock cited his propensity for moving around the draft board with trades.

“Every guy has a footprint,” Mayock said.

Many are wondering what Mayock’s will look like now that he’s a GM himself. Head coach Jon Gruden remains the team’s last word and chief decision maker, but Mayock will have massive influence over the NFL draft process and selections.

Mayock said he wants to be open-minded and flexible with his draft plan heading into a 2019 NFL Draft, where the Raiders have three first-round picks and four selections in the top 35.

“I’ve always thought (that), if I had to first pick in the draft or if I had two picks (in the first round), I’d be open for business,” Mayock said. “I think you have to be. I’m not trying to say I’m Vegas Mike or anything like that.

“I’m just saying, whether you have 10 picks or four picks in the draft, I think you have to be open. I mean, let’s be honest, would I move up to get somebody? Sure I would. If it’s the guy you feel like you have to have, but you’re diminishing your odds a little bit when you trade up and give away draft picks.”

[RELATED: Raiders hire A.J. Neibel as new strength and conditioning coach]

Being open to movement really just says the Raiders could do anything, which is what teams want the competition to think. The Raiders have the capital required to make big moves in the April's draft, especially if they're trading up to get someone. That would mean fewer opportunities to mine this draft ore for the most important selections in recent Raiders memory, though.

The Raiders could fall in love and do whatever it takes to get a player, or they could stand pat and hope that four top picks turn into at least two (or three) quality starters with those early picks.

Raiders' Jon Gruden ranked as 15th-best veteran head coach by NFL.com

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AP

Raiders' Jon Gruden ranked as 15th-best veteran head coach by NFL.com

Just win, baby.

Twice in his career, Jon Gruden has been given that directive as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. He was considerably more successful the first time around.

Gruden never finished below .500 in his first go-around with the Raiders, but in making his return to the franchise last year, he led Oakland to a 4-12 record -- tied for the worst record in the AFC.

Right after Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract to move out of the Monday Night Football booth and back to the sidelines, many questioned whether his time away from coaching would put him behind the eight-ball. Given how the Raiders performed last season, it didn't exactly silence that noise.

And yet, at least one analyst believes Gruden is still an above-average coach. NFL.com's Elliot Harrison ranked the 32 NFL head coaches Monday, and Gruden came in at No. 15.

Here's what Harrison had to say about Chucky:

"As [Gruden] shipped out star players and cut ties with front office execs he didn't want in Oakland last year, the Raiders managed just four wins. That's why '19 should be the tell on what kind of coach he is going forward. New GM Mike Mayock helped Gruden begin to rebuild the roster after stockpiling picks, providing an infusion of talent that should at least make this team more competitive. Given the strength of the division-rival Chargers and Chiefs, simply leading Oakland to the playoffs should be a ringing endorsement for the coach."

[RELATED: Raiders given 20th best outlook in future power rankings]

Indeed, if they make the playoffs this coming season, that's an undeniable success for Gruden and the Raiders in their final season in Oakland -- one that would be worthy of Gruden ascending on next year's coaching rankings. But, as Harrison suggests, it's not going to be easy.

Future NFL power rankings: Raiders given 20th best short-term outlook

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USATSI

Future NFL power rankings: Raiders given 20th best short-term outlook

How bright is the future for the Raiders?

Well, according to the good folks over at ESPN, it could be a little brighter.

On Tuesday, ESPN published its "Future NFL Power Rankings," which ranks the outlook of all 32 teams over the next three years.

And the Raiders came in at ...

*drumroll*

No. 20.

Hey, for a team that went 4-12 a season ago, it could be worse. 

The Colts, Patriots, Eagles, Chiefs and Seahawks made up the top five.

ESPN ranked each team based on its roster (minus the quarterback), head coach, front office, quarterback and draft to determine their outlook for the next three campaigns.

The Raiders checked in at

  • Roster (minus QB): 20
  • Front office: 15
  • Head coach: 17
  • Draft: 17
  • Quarterback: 25

Well, not a rosy outlook for Derek Carr.

Field Yates, Louis Riddick and Kevin Seifert all believe the Raiders' outlook will be determined by whether or not the Carr-Gruden connection is a fruitful one. In Year 1 of Gruden's second reign with the Raiders, Carr had a rough year. With a lack of offensive weapons and a line that had issues with the zone blocking tendencies, Carr only threw for 4,049 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Carr has shown he has the ability to be a top-tier quarterback, and with the weapons, the Raiders collected in the offseason, 2019 could be a different story.

[RELATED: How Raiders' defense stacks up against rest of AFC West]

Riddick lauded the Raiders' draft picks and offseason moves. Oakland added Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Trent Brown, Josh Jacobs, Ryan Grant and Hunter Renfrow on offense. Lamarcus Joyner, Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abram and Trayvon Mullen came in to help a defense that was awful last season.

Things are looking up for the Silver and Black. If Carr can rediscover his MVP-level form, good times could be on the horizon.