Raiders

Raiders 2019 NFL draft order: Only 49ers stand in way of No. 1 pick

Raiders 2019 NFL draft order: Only 49ers stand in way of No. 1 pick

There are four games left in this lost Raiders season. There’s plenty to ponder about which members of this team could impact the 2019 version and how, down the stretch, the Raiders can win another game or two.

Head coach Jon Gruden’s remains on that, not the bounty of offseason moves he can make significant salary cap space and three first-round picks.

“We don’t look ahead right now. We are looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers, that’s all we are doing,” Gruden said Monday. “…We are not looking ahead to nothing except the Pittsburgh Steelers. I can assure you that, at least on our side of the building.”

[RELATED: Steelers RB James Connor out vs. Raiders]

The personnel staff is always looking ahead to the draft and possible free-agent options. That’s the job, to scout and survey and, in this current Raiders hierarchy, inform Gruden so he can properly select.

He’ll have three options in the first round, and one of those selections improved a bit with Chicago finally losing a game. Dallas remains hot and the Raiders are getting better, which could spell trouble for that top pick if the Silver and Black notch another win.

Let’s take a look at where the Raiders first-round picks sit after Week 13 action:

No. 2 overall (Last week: No. 2)

How it was earned: The pick earned with an awful record held steady, yet got stronger with Arizona falling off the pace after an unlikely victory at Green Bay.

Only the Raiders and 49ers are left with two wins, and the Santa Clarans will secure the top spot based on strength of schedule. A third victory would drop the Raiders significantly, below the Cardinals and Jets. This team wants wins down the stretch. Fans may not, considering Nick Bosa fills a need for the 49ers and Raiders.

No. 23 overall (Last week: No. 21)

How it was earned: The Cowboys are on a roll, making the first-round pick traded for Amari Cooper less valuable by the win. That defense is playing awesome, and Cooper is a threat with the ball in hand or as a decoy. This is a hue difference over a month or so ago, when this pick was hovering around the top 10.

No. 26 overall (Last week: No. 26)

How it was earned: This pick received as part of the Khalil Mack package is stuck near the bottom of the first-round a disastrous result considering the edge rusher’s worth. The Bears have two easier games against Green Bay and San Francisco and tougher sledding against the Rams and Vikings. Raiders fans should be losing their voices cheering for the 49ers in Week 16, when a win could vault the Silver and Black and send this pick up a peg.

NFL rumors: Ex-Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie joins Dolphins

NFL rumors: Ex-Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie joins Dolphins

Former Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie didn’t take long to find a new gig.

The Silver and Black fired him the evening of Dec. 9, following a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. McKenzie didn’t mesh well enough with new coach/football chief Jon Gruden to stick around and chose to bow out before the season’s end despite an offer to finish the year.

McKenzie has a new team and a new title roughly two months later. He was hired as Miami Dolphins senior personnel executive, according to several reports out of South Florida on Saturday afternoon.

McKenzie will work with Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, trying to rebuild a downtrodden Dolphins franchise that recently named Brian Flores its new coach.

McKenzie didn’t need a new job right away. His Raiders contract was fully guaranteed, meaning he would be paid through its expiration after the 2021 draft.

McKenzie hasn’t had an employment lapse in decades after six-plus years as Raiders GM and more than two decades working in the Green Bay Packers’ front office.

The 2016 NFL Executive of the Year helped get the Raiders right with the salary cap and snap a prolonged playoff drought in 2016. That was due in larger part to his signature 2014 draft class, where he added edge rusher Khalil Mack, quarterback Derek Carr and guard Gabe Jackson with his first three picks.

[RELATED: How Mike Mayock will approach draft]

While McKenzie made some higher-round mistakes in the draft, he found quality in the first round most years but struggle to flesh out the roster appropriately.

Now he’ll try to do better with the Dolphins, who need some serious talent upgrades to compete in the AFC.

Raiders discussions with Oakland Coliseum progressing, could resolve soon

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AP

Raiders discussions with Oakland Coliseum progressing, could resolve soon

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority board met on Friday morning, and executive director Scott McKibben provided a closed-session update on talks to host the Raiders during the 2019 NFL season.

No Raiders officials were present, but it was still a small and productive step towards keeping the Silver and Black in Oakland for one more year. The board liked the direction of talks between McKibben and Raiders brass.

“I updated the board on where I’ve been with the Raiders management and ownership,” McKibben said on Friday afternoon. “It’s fair to say that the talks are progressing.”

Talks will continue soon, with a resolution expected in the relatively near future.

“We’ll talk against next week,” McKibben said. “Again, this will come to a conclusion one way or another in the next week or so. It’s fair to say that discussions have been meaningful and productive and, after the update with our board, things are progressing.”

Continued progress will have the Raiders remaining at the Oakland Coliseum for another season, the last before formally moving to Las Vegas in 2020. The Raiders have remained in the East Bay since being approved for relocation prior to the 2017 season.

They preferred to remain in Oakland until the Vegas move – they had a 2017 lease at Oakland Coliseum, with a team option for ’18 – but halted negotiations for 2019 after the city of Oakland sued the Raiders and the NFL for antitrust violations and breach of contract.

The Raiders and the Coliseum Authority were working on a $7.5 million deal for 2019, but the team walked away after the lawsuit was filed.

[RELATED: Raiders have lots of flexibility ahead of pivotal offseason]

The Silver and Black explored several options, including some outside the market, but their preference was to continue playing in the Bay Area. The 49ers halted work on a deal to play at Oracle Park by refusing to waive their territorial rights, leaving Levi’s Stadium – owner Mark Davis doesn’t like the venue – and a return to Oakland Coliseum as the only viable local options.

Talks with McKibben ramped up a bit last week, and the foundation of previous extension talks has made a return to the table easier.

There’s plenty of work left to be done on a 2019 deal, but a resolution is closer following productive and meaningful talks to this stage.