Mike Mayock has scouted plenty of prospects during his three decades of both covering and working in the game of football.
Taking over as the Raiders' general manager in December of 2018, Mayock's first experience at building a draft class came with the 2019 event. That group performed quite well as a whole last season, but Mayock doesn't want his second draft class to get any inflated egos during their inaugural training camp.
"I think they've gotten a lot of pretty good press," Mayock told reporters during a media availability Tuesday. "A lot of people are kind of tapping them on the butt. You know what, it's not time to anoint anybody yet. This is what we talked about last year with Josh Jacobs and everybody else, you gotta earn it in this league. We don't have any preseason games to do it, which kind of exaggerates the evaluation process for us.
"So the snapshot of the rookies has been good. But that doesn't mean anything yet, they've gotta compete on special teams, they gotta get off the ball in press coverage in a real game, there's a long way to go before we anoint anybody in this rookie class."
The Raiders had two first-round picks in 2020, grabbing speedy wideout Henry Ruggs at No. 12 out of Alabama, and rangy cornerback Damon Arnette at No. 19 out of Ohio State. Mayock and the front office certainly had an offensive focus in this year's draft, using three of the team's first four picks on players listed as wide receivers (Lynn Bowden Jr. and Bryan Edwards were drafted in the third round).
Jacobs, the Raiders' first-round pick a season ago, put together a phenomenal rookie season, rushing for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns. Jacobs and coach Jon Gruden have focused early in training camp on getting him more opportunities in the passing game, after just 20 catches out of the backfield as a rookie.
Confidence in Mayock's talent evaluation certainly is understandable given how well the rookies performed in 2019, but the old-school GM doesn't want any of this year's group getting cocky, especially as the Raiders look to build on a frustrating 7-9 season