MOBILE, Ala. -- Mike Mayock was paid to talk for a long, long time. NFL Network’s preeminent draft analyst was an open book on national television, informing draftniks and casual football fans alike about college prospects looking to turn pro.
Sharing is no longer in his job description. The Raiders general manager has to keep opinions quiet these days, to keep information and opinions out of the competition’s hands.
He still has to listen for clues about other’s intentions, but he’s also keeping somewhat quiet with his own scouts.
“Over the last 15 or 16 years, my job has been to A. give out information, B. evaluate. I’m talking a lot, but what I have to be is a better listener,” Mayock said Thursday at the Senior Bowl, during a sitdown with Raiders beat reporters. “I have a staff of scouts now. Not only do I have to listen to them, but I can’t always let them know what I think because I want their true evaluations as opposed to them being colored by what the GM thinks.
“I’m trying to train myself a little bit because I have a big frigging mouth when I talk football. I have to watch myself a little bit.”
He doesn’t want scouts influenced by his evaluations because, ultimately, Mayock isn’t just scouting NFL draft prospects. He’s also scouting his scouts.
The Raiders haven’t made major changes to the personnel department to this point. Director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales has been fired, though that was expected considering he was Reggie McKenzie’s childhood friend and right-hand man.
The staff has remained intact and likely will through the NFL draft, but changes could and likely will be made after that. Mayock must decide which scouts and executives he wants to keep and which people to replace.
“They all know that they’re being evaluated right now,” Mayock said. “Look, the Oakland Raiders have been to one playoff game in 16 years. I think my original message to the scouts when I came in was to remember where we’re starting. Let’s not sugarcoat it. Let’s be honest about where we’re starting, because the only way we’re going to get any better is if we define that and then define the process for how we’re going to get better. To me, you’re always looking to upgrade everywhere.
“These guys know they’re on notice. There’s a new GM in the building. I’ve built an awful lot of relationships over the years, and it’s okay. I don’t mind them being on edge a little bit.”
Reports of former Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson joining the Silver and Black were premature at best, though Mayock’s No. 2 seems to be on the way at some point in the relatively near future.
“A lot of the personnel people’s contracts expire and guys become available after the draft,” Gruden said. “I’m sure Mike and everybody is keeping a close eye on who is available and who will become available. I know we have interviewed a few guys. I know Mike likes to pick people’s brain, and gather clues and information.”