Originally published on Silver & Black Report on May 7, 2014
Silver & Black Report sought out questions from Raider Nation on our forum site, RaiderFans.net, and these are the answers formed by our knowledge of the team.
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My question would be for Reggie McKenzie or the draft board guys for the organization: We know that they look for high character football players, but what other aspects of a prospect weigh into the decision making progress? I know some posters have stated Reggie likes the Seniors more so than JRs, ect is this in case a fact or is it more about the maturity of the player?
Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen have expressed their desire for “football players” on numerous occasions. They desire players that have love for the game and know how to play the game. It also appears that McKenzie seeks out players that play the game because they “love” it, which would likely mean they’ll be hard workers. It does seem Reggie likes seniors more but I believe that is simply a case of it being about the maturity of a prospect, as you hinted at. Not only that, but it also gives the front office more data points to see when looking at them as a prospect.
Any inside indications of what we maybe leaning towards in the draft? I know several prospects visited the facility, any feedback on specific players/visits?
I believe that McKenzie will stay true to his board and philosophy. This means that he will take the best player available as the team has so many holes that he can afford to take a player at almost any position. He certainly wants a playmaker but if the “playmakers” he desire are off the board already, he may take the best tackle on his board which has been reportedly Taylor Lewan. I think that McKenzie would like to trade down in the draft and accumulate more picks for a relatively deep draft.
If you see Hayden, I would love to know where he sees himself health wise, and is the scar tissue issue taken care of?
Hayden should be good to go and at 100 percent, including the scar tissue. He was fully recovered with the scar tissue last season, granting him permission to participate in full-contact drills in training camp and then playing in games. Hayden’s groin, which put him on IR last season, should be good to go and he should be 100 percent now. I will ask him for a quote during OTA’s regarding his health.
If the Raiders are going to trade down, would they have a target in mind? Or would they want to accumulate picks?
How do you see the first 5 picks of the draft unfolding? Will there be any trades (particularly in the first 4 picks)?
I think trading down would be because the “playmakers” the Raiders desire are gone and they would rather have more ammo in a deep draft. I think the Raiders would be content in staying at #5 if Mack, Watkins and/or Clowney are somehow still available but they would rather accumulate more picks with a trade if they’re gone. I don’t think it’s because McKenzie thinks #5 overall is “too soon” to select someone, he seems to be willing to stay true to his board and go out and get the guy he wants.
As for me personally with the first five picks, here’s what I THINK may happen:
1. HOU: Jadeveon Clowney
2. STL: Greg Robinson
3. JAX: Khalil Mack
4. CLE: Sammy Watkins
5: OAK: Jake Matthews or Taylor Lewan or trade
If there were to be a trade in the top four, I could see Atlanta trading with Cleveland if Mack is still available and them taking Mack and then Cleveland being content with Manziel at #6. I do think that Jacksonville could take Watkins since they don’t know what is up with Justin Blackmon. With that said, Atlanta could just shake everything up by trading with Houston for the #1 pick and taking Clowney. They need the pass rushers badly.
- Has anyone stood out by showing up to OTA’s in better/worse than expected shape?
- Anyone noticeably absent from OTA’s?
- Wiz contract extension, any news?
- Rumors that a potential clerical error may have been spotted in the Austin Howard contract, any info on this?
OTA’s are set to begin at the end of May with the media getting their first look on May 27. I will be able to answer these questions better at that time.
I have not heard much about Stefen Wisniewski’s contract situation but I expect something to come out about it as the offseason progresses.
Have the Raiders shown any interest in draft prospects from Div II or smaller schools?
The Raiders have held many smaller schools’ football players for workouts. McKenzie and the Raiders have shown their ability to identify these smaller school playmakers by finding undrafted free agents and late-round picks that have produced for the Raiders.
Where will the team be staying in London?
When do they leave London?
I am not sure where they will be staying yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was The Grove in Hertfordshire. Many of the other NFL teams that have gone to London have stayed there as they have the proper facilities to even host the practices. The Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49er’s and New Orleans Saints have stayed there for their London games. The team will most likely depart back for Oakland shortly after the game concludes, following treatments, showers and packing up.
Is there any truth that the team is on websites such as RFN in order to gauge fan opinion and in order to get other perspectives outside the front office as to what the “voice of the fan” is?
I can’t say for certain but I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s not really any better way to get the opinion of the fans than a site with 65,000 members like RF!
Sometimes there are rumors of Mark Davis being very involved on the football side of the operation. Is there any truth to these rumors, or has Davis stuck to his word on letting Reggie run the show? Have you ever met Mark Davis, and what is your impression of him?
I believe Davis has stayed true to his word in letting McKenzie handle the football operations. Granted, every owner is going to have an opinion and I’m sure Davis is not one to censor that. But I think a lot of the moves you see can prove to you that it is McKenzie making the moves, as they are the ones that fit his “style”. I have talked with Davis before when he came into the locker room following a blowout loss in 2012. He seems passionate about this team and certainly wants it to get back on track and winning.
DMac, MJD, Sheets, Jones, Stewart, Olawale – that’s a lot of running backs. Yet, we brought Gaffney in…
Could we be looking for a short-yardage back in late rounds to fill the role Zach Crockett epitomized when the Raiders were last a factor in the NFL?
Don’t forget about Latavius Murray in your list, he’ll get a chance too. There’s no question the Raiders lack a true short-yardage back and Tyler Gaffney would surely fill that void. The Raiders closest thing to a power back would be Marcel Reece, yet he’s the fullback. Gaffney’s size and physicality is something the Raiders desire in the backfield but have not been able to fulfill as of late. With that said, every team brings in a lot of players as they must do their due diligence just in case they’re available at a time the team sees them as big value.
That concludes our first mailbag! I look forward to seeing your questions when the next mailbag is open after the draft!