Reggie McKenzie Touches On Oakland Raiders Draft Strategy


Sep 30, 2014; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie during a press conference to introduce Tony Sparano (not pictured) as Raiders interim coach at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie hit his stride when it came to the NFL Draft during 2014, getting his best haul during his short career as a GM by picking standout rookies Khalil Mack and Derek Carr. McKenzie also managed to add other promising talents such as Justin “Jelly” Ellis and TJ Carrie in the later rounds, helping to save his job as he was retained largely due to his draft acumen last spring.

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With a new head coach and pressure to deliver better results on the field next season, McKenzie is entering his draft process this offseason knowing that he will need another similar success at the draft in Chicago (it will be held outside of New York this year) to help the Raiders rebuild get that much closer to completion. Talking to Sirius XM NFL Radio this past week, it appears McKenzie has a formula for success and it starts with trusting his draft board that is presently being built before the 2015 NFL Draft takes place.

“You’re talking about seven picks,” McKenzie said Wednesday in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Late Hits while adding that he feels that the Raiders need to add talent with every single one of those selctions. “We feel like we need more than seven players, so we’re going to set this draft board right and pick the best player at that particular time.”

Because of the team needs across the board, McKenzie feels that the Raiders will be looking for the best player available whenever they are on the clock at the draft rather than keying in on one or two positions of need. McKenzie making it clear that he will be setting a draft board that he can trust going into the big weekend.

“If I felt like we just needed three players, then I would say I have an idea of the three (positions) I want. Not at this point. We want to get the best players we can and give our coaching staff and other guys in that locker room the best playmakers possible. … The bottom line is that you want set the draft board and trust it.”

Before free agency begins, McKenzie also told the Late Hits crew that after a somewhat disappointing haul during last year’s free agency period that drafting well is something that all teams need to do to avoid having to bank on veteran signings panning out.

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“That’s why you have to draft well. When you try to be more choosy with who you bring in and what you want out of them, when your roster is stable and you don’t need as many (free agents), that’s where you want to be with your team. We’re trying to move in that direction.”

It appears that McKenzie will once again be attempting to find the best balance of luring in outside talent come the free agency period before then finalizing his draft board accordingly. Regardless of who he brings in it appears the Raiders general manager is going to be looking at the best players available whenever Oakland are on the clock.

Perhaps not at quarterback with Derek Carr already in place could the Raiders use an improvement at every position, but it is a fact the team needs young talent at every position to get towards playoff contention so don’t expect McKenzie to soften his stance that the Raiders needs to take the BPA over looking at key needs come the 2015 Draft.