MOBILE, Ala. – Mike Mayock was widely considered the preeminent NFL draft analyst during his years working at NFL Network, earning great respect from football folks in the professional and college ranks.
That opened doors closed to most, allowing Mayock to glean information most couldn’t get regarding college prospects and an individual team’s intentions.
Wells of NFL insight, however, has dried up now that he’s working for the competition. The new Raiders general manager isn’t getting those trade secrets but remains immensely popular in all circles here at the Senior Bowl.
He championed this event, which includes a practice week and Saturday’s annual college all-star game when he was at NFL Network. He got the league-owned network to increase its coverage on an important part of the pre-draft process.
“Mike is going to run for office in Mobile,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said early this month, right after Mayock got hired.
He could probably win, even though he’s now solely focused on improving the Raiders while armed with four NFL draft selections in the top 35.
That respect, especially within college football programs, should help his evaluation. He isn’t getting info from pro teams, but has spent significant time with decision makers and knows how they tick.
Jon Gruden believes it could give the Raiders an advantage leading up to the NFL draft.
“He has been able to sit in meetings with coaches and players,” Gruden said. “He has been welcomed by people. He’s respected. He has had access that very few people have had, and he has developed some relationships that very few people have been able to develop. I think it will serve him well in the long run.”
Gruden believes the Raiders are already served well with Mayock on their side. He has hit the ground running since being hired just before the new year, spending most hours evaluating college tape and meeting with coaches about which players fit Raiders' schemes.
Gruden expected that. There have been some surprises along the way.
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“What I’m most impressed with is how Mike has rallied the coaches and rallied the scouts behind the scenes,” Gruden said. “He’s a terrific leader. His energy is contagious. That’s a big part of the job, I think.”