MOBILE, Ala. -- Mike Mayock took the job as Raiders general manager with eyes wide open. He understands full well that head coach Jon Gruden has the final say on personnel. He also knows he’ll have a loud voice in vital decisions, especially heading toward a pivotal NFL draft with four picks in the top 35.
Understanding what the Raiders need was his first task as Raiders GM. Mayock announced at his introductory press conference that he would do a deep dive into the Raiders' roster to identify and remedy the team’s biggest issues.
He also dug deep into the organization itself, and found some issues with how the Raiders ran their ship.
His conclusion: there was too much division within the building itself. Mayock set out to be a unifying force.
Mayock has long-standing relationships with most Raiders coaches. He knows several scouts from his days as NFL Network’s top draft analyst.
He’s trying to bring those two sides closer together as the Raiders head into this offseason’s work.
“The best thing that we have going for us right now is that the head coach and general manager are truly on the same page as far as what we’re looking for from football players,” Mayock said Thursday night at the Senior Bowl during a sit down with Raiders beat writers. “The point I want to make, which I think is really important, is that we’re a completely open and transparent building right now, as far as the coaches and the scouts.”
This comes after year where coaches and scouts reportedly had different draft boards, that coaches had their own evaluator and there were enough issues working with Reggie McKenzie that Gruden chose to fire him.
“I don’t know what was going on before, and I am not going to comment about anything else — all I am going to tell you is that the common denominator of dysfunctional football buildings is when the coaches and the scouts don’t have a true relationship that goes both ways.
"And my goal walking into the building Day 1 was to use my relationship with the coaching staff — and there is a bunch of them — to make that,” Mayock said. “I told Coach Gruden and the entire staff that we’re going to give you everything we have.”
The Senior Bowl showed great examples of that. Each Raiders position coach received a thick binder with scouting reports, grade and background information on every player under his jurisdiction during a practice week spent guiding the North squad.
“My point to them was, ‘We’re not hiding anything in this building.’ And when we get back from the Senior Bowl, I am going to expect that every position coach is going to put into our grading system — on our computers, we have a new coaches’ tab in there — and I am going to want a summary of every player and what we learned on and off the field,” Mayock said.
“This is all common-sense stuff. The point is that there are no walls in that building right now. It’s a completely open building and the information is flowing both ways, and that’s what’s got me more juiced than anything.”
Mayock has spent time with each coach trying to understand what player-types best fit schemes and preferences. Mayock has been working crazy hours since getting hired, trying to best prepare for the upcoming NFL draft, his particular area of expertise, while adjusting to all the non-scouting work required of an NFL GM.
“You’re in the office at 5:30 in the morning and you look at your watch at night and you’re like, ‘Holt sh--, I havne’t watched any tape yet,” Mayock said. “That’s not good for me.
“…I have had to learn to prioritize and delegate, so that my core job, which is trying to bring more football talent into the building.”