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Reggie McKenzie encouraged by younger free agent class

Jack Del Rio, Reggie McKenzie

New Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, right, shakes hands with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie during a news conference Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


The Raiders have been aggressive in free agency before.

They’re hoping this time it actually works.

Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie said he’s enthusiastic about his early haul in free agency, even if it came without the kind of skill position upgrades he needed or a star such as Ndamukong Suh.

We feel really good about them,” McKenzie said, via Scott Bair of “We had a plan. Every year, we go after a lot of guys. You’re not going to get them all. Our intent was to go after them hard and heavy, and we were able to add a whole lot of guys that we really like. We feel really good about the guys we were able to add.”

The Raiders mostly were able to strengthen up the middle, with center Rodney Hudson, linebacker Curtis Lofton and defensive tackle Dan Williams, along with safety Nate Allen.

They also put an emphasis on guys with upside, as opposed to past classes of older free agents. None of the players McKenzie has signed this offseason is over 28.

“We wanted guys entering their prime who can give us a few years,” McKenzie said. “We felt like, with the leadership we have now, we could just add to the roster. Last year, we felt like we didn’t have leadership. We got guys who had played some years and they were able to help our younger guys. We feel like we grew from that. We continue to add some young players. We wanted to inject some starter-type guys who can help us try to win some ball games.”

If nothing else, the moves clear the way for the Raiders to use the No. 4 overall pick a wide receiver who can add life to the offense, as the bulk spending has checked off many boxes but not that one.