Mike Mayock says Raiders can benefit from Antonio Brown's chip on shoulder

Mike Mayock says Raiders can benefit from Antonio Brown's chip on shoulder

PHOENIX – The Raiders were never giving up a first-round draft pick for Antonio Brown. They jumped at the opportunity to acquire him when the Pittsburgh Steelers' trade demands went down, and they ultimately got him for a third-round pick, a fifth-rounder and a significant raise.

It wasn’t part of the team’s free-agency plan. It also wasn’t something they could pass up.

“It was a game-changer,” Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said in an interview Monday with Raiders beat reporters at the NFL owners meeting. “We feel like he’s still in the prime of his career, and that his interests are aligned with our interests. He’s going to have a little chip on his shoulder and show everybody how good he is.”

Brown certainly shows everyone how hard he works. Gym sessions are often broadcast live on Instagram. Well-edited hype videos document trips to East Bay parks with quarterback Derek Carr. And, sometimes, there’s no point to Brown’s posts at all. He just talk to the public on social channels as part of a non-stop modern marketing machine.

The Raiders like Brown's all-access pass as he builds excitement during this offseason stretch.

“I love it. I’m not even on … what’s he use? Instagram?” Mayock said. “My wife shows me stuff, and I get fired up when I see him fired up and working with our guys, whether it’s at our facility or at a park or in Fresno. It’s a really cool dynamic.

“Players recognize talent. Tyrell Williams wants to come play with him. Derek Carr can’t wait to throw with him. The dynamic in our building changed a little bit, and it has been fun watching him.”

Brown won his introductory press conference, promising to set a new standard for work ethic and accountability on this roster. Saying it is easy. Backing it up takes constant work and maintenance.

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But Brown seems committed to making the most of his fresh start, planning to lead and produce at an All-Pro level. If he can do both things, Brown will start his career’s next chapter off right.

The last one didn’t end well, tainted by disagreements with Pittsburgh teammates and coaches. He left the team for a stretch and didn’t play in the final game of the 2018 season, virtually assuring his Steelers exit.

The Raiders did their homework, though, and aren’t concerned about Brown pouting in the face of adversity or discontent. They believe he’ll be a positive force while wearing silver and black.

“I think I know enough about his history and background,” Mayock said. “I did do a pretty deep dive with some of the people I know in Pittsburgh, but the point is that, for the majority of his career, could you criticize him for wanting the football more? Sure. Tell me a great receiver who doesn’t want the ball. He has some of that in him, but he was a positive force in that building for a lot of years. Whatever happened last year happened. I look at it in the opposite (way).

“He’s a little pissed off. He has something to prove. I think he’s going to come out and prove it in Oakland next year, and we’re going to be the beneficiaries.”

NFL Draft 2019: Best available Day 2 players for Raiders' No. 35 pick

NFL Draft 2019: Best available Day 2 players for Raiders' No. 35 pick

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock made no secret of his desire to add selections during the NFL draft’s second day. They don’t have a pick beyond No. 35 overall after standing pat Thursday night and making three first-round selections as scheduled.

This early second-round pick is the last chance to add to the Day 2 total without giving up later or future picks, and there’s a real chance the Raiders will move down to try and add selections in a deep portion of the draft.

The Raiders are considering a trade at this stage, though nothing will be decided until Friday.

“We’ve already had a couple offers for that pick,” Mayock said after the first round’s conclusion. “I had two offers for that pick before New England finished the draft. We pick third tomorrow. We turned down those offers because we think we’re going to have some more tomorrow.

"We can either sit there at 35 and take a player we love — we think one or two of them are going to be on the board — or we can move back down and pick up an extra pick. We love the 35th pick in this draft.”

The Raiders have quality available if they select there, or if they trade down a bit. The cornerback and receiver position groups are virtually intact, with several good interior offensive linemen also left.

[RELATED: Why Raiders picked Clelin Ferrell so high in NFL draft]

Quarterbacks drive up the price even in the second round, and a team going after Drew Lock might want an early crack at him before the Missouri signal-caller goes off the board.

Let’s look at some options for the Raiders at No. 35, or a bit later in the second round:

TE Irv Smith, Alabama: The Raiders need a versatile tight end, and he’s the best option left. It might take the 35th pick to get him. Smith won’t last long.

DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech: A productive small-school edge rusher has some question marks, but he could be a quality pickup for a Raiders team needing another defensive end.

OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State: This versatile offensive lineman could be an immediate answer at guard and a backup option at tackle. He wowed Raiders coaches at the Senior Bowl, and has a nasty streak they like.

QB Drew Lock, Missouri: The Raiders weren’t on the prowl for a quarterback in the first round, but Lock might present value if he remains on the board long enough. He also could be a tool to help the Raiders acquire extra picks.

CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple: A tough cover man with great ball skills remains available, and would fit well with how the Raiders like to play in the secondary.

CB Justin Layne, Michigan State: The Raiders like this former Spartan, who is a big cornerback with a good understanding of how receivers run routes.

Guard Connor McGovern, Penn State: The physical interior lineman visited the Raiders’ facility before the draft. He could be a candidate if they trade down.

CB Greedy Williams, LSU: He’s fast and offers sticky coverage, but being a lackluster tackler and having inconsistent drive sent him down the draft board.

WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State: The Raiders already have plenty at receiver, but another speed demon couldn’t hurt.

OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma: This lineman was considered a first-round pick by some analysts, but he remains available. The Raiders could play him inside and add a physical presence in the run game with proper coaching.

How Raiders ended up picking Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 in 2019 NFL Draft

How Raiders ended up picking Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 in 2019 NFL Draft

ALAMEDA -- Raiders general manager Mike Mayock called Clelin Ferrell with some good news. The Clemson defensive end was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday night, accepting all the expectations that come with it.

Fair or not, Ferrell’s performance will be judged by his draft slot and who all those draft analysts thought should’ve been taken before him. That list is long.

The Raiders’ draft board was the only list that mattered, and they made the decision to stay at No. 4 and take a player whom outsiders believe would’ve been available later.

“It all goes back to this: There were flashier players who people may have had higher on their boards,” Mayock said. “On our board, it was him and Bosa right next to each other at that position.”

Mayock and head coach/football czar Jon Gruden had Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa high on their priority list, and explored a move up to get him, but the 49ers snatched him without reservation at No. 2 overall.

That left Ferrell as the next best defensive end option available, and the Raiders were sure to get him at No. 4.

Trades were explored at that spot, but none fit the Raiders' liking. Getting any extra pick along with the guy you want is preferred, but there’s no guarantee Ferrell would’ve been around.

“You get phone calls, and you have to make some considerations,” Mayock said. “You make phone calls and do the same thing. At the end of the day, we didn’t think there was anything of enough value to cause us to change our plans.”

The plan was to nab an edge rusher early, and Ferrell was next up on the Raiders’ draft board that perfectly fit their defensive scheme and the locker-room culture the Raiders are trying to create.

“We pretty much knew he would be there,” Mayock said. “Everybody else had all the big names up there, but Jon and I came in this morning and double-checked everything, and he was our guy. ...

“He checked all the boxes. He’s going to be a three-down player. He’s 267 pounds. He’s a captain. When you talk to the guys at Clemson, they say he was the cornerstone of that defense. Everything he does reminds me of what we want in the Raiders.”

The Raiders are looking for leadership and character from a draft class that will be featured players when the team relocates to Las Vegas in 2020. They want guys who star on the field and look good on billboards as they transition to a new market.

Ferrell impressed Mayock and Gruden at meetings, and convinced them he could handle the pressure and adversity associated with a draft pick many didn’t expect to go so high.

“We sat in the room with Ferrell at the combine, and I think he’s one of nine kids, from a military whose father passed away,” Mayock said. “This kid can do so much, and all he had was this ball of positive energy. He was the energizer bunny for this national championship defense at Clemson. Everyone we talked to a Clemson said he was the guy.

"He had dealt with adversity. Playing in the national title game was nothing. Neither will coming out here. He has been through worse. He understands how to handle this, how to handle Las Vegas.”

[RELATED: Raiders taking Clelin Ferrell No. 4 surprised many]

There’s no doubt Ferrell is a schematic fit at defensive end, with the size and versatility to play well in the system.

“It’s very important, especially with the offenses we play in this division,” Mayock said. “A guy like Ferrell can play either side of the line of scrimmage and kick inside. That was important for [defensive coordinator] Paul Guenther.”