Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie would make for a fine high government official. Says very little and, when he does say something, it provides minuscule substance. Now, doesn’t that sound like a prototypical G-Man?
Still, McKenzie dropped a hilarious jewel during the Raiders’ pre-draft press conference last Friday about head coach Jon Gruden.
“Oh man, he’s a bowling ball of butcher knives,” McKenzie said with a big smile and laugh. “He’s great. I love the fire, I love the enthusiasm. We can talk football all day and watch film. I mean, it’s been really good. I’m excited to watch him on the grass and get out there and watch practice. It’s fun. That’s what I expected. He’s going to make it fun and not just for his players and coaches but it’s fun being around him and I like that.”
McKenzie reiterated he and Gruden love the same type of players. Details, please?
“Raiders,” McKenzie quipped. “The characteristics of that is just being good football players. It’s not about height, weight, speed or where they come from. It’s about who they are as players. Do they love playing football? All those types of characteristics that you truly like about football players.”
Gruden may be the $100 million man, yet according to McKenzie, the Raiders draft selections will be dictated by the board. And, free agent signings won’t sway picks one way or another as McKenzie noted if the board has a player at a position that’s loaded, said prospect will be the pick, regardless of depth.
Other than that, McKenzie was status quo on his tight-lipped nature. When broached with the inquiry regarding depth in the draft (is there a position you find deeper than others), the GM simply said “Yes.” And followed with “Nice try.”
Let’s hit the Quick Slants as lightning-quick as McKenzie was with the quips:
- McKenzie had no updates on Khalil Mack’s looming contract situation.
- Ditto for NaVorro Bowman who McKenzie said was “still a free agent.”
- I could care less where a prospect is picked in the draft. I’m more critical of how the coaching staff molds the neophyte into a productive player.
- LSU pass rusher Arden Key (6-foot-5, 238 pounds)is slated to fall in the draft; to the fourth round even.
- If the Raiders take a chance on Key, the team could deploy him similar to Lance Johnstone (6-5, 252 pounds) — pass rusher on obvious passing downs. Johnstone racked up 10 and 11 sacks, respectively in the 1998 and 99 seasons.
- Johnstone also had Darrell Russell destroying the interior those two years as the defensive tackle had 10 and 9.5 sacks those same years.
- Could the Raiders trade up to land Michigan’s Maurice Hurst to fill the interior role?
- Hold up! Interior disruptor … are we talking sacks, tackles for loss or blowing up a play? Because you can be a wrecker inside and not have your work show up on the stat sheet.
- Gruden loves wide receivers who are polished route runners (hence his big-time love for Amari Cooper). Memphis’ Anthony Miller and Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton are two of the better route runners in this draft.
- There’s going to be 11 drafted players (if Raiders keep all their picks) and 10 or so undrafted free agents signed immediately after the draft. If I’m a fringe player currently on the Raiders roster I’m working extremely hard to keep my spot.
- Roquan Smith remains a popular prediction for Oakland at 10. Reuben Foster’s legal woes make the Georgia linebacker a possibility at No. 9 for San Francisco.
- Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey is becoming another popular projection for the Raiders at 10. Did you know he’s first cousins with Atlanta QB Matt Ryan?
- The pick at 10 has everyone’s attention, and for good reason. But I’m sitting here hopeful the Raiders move Karl Joseph to his proper position of free safety.
- Dave Razzano and his hyper-critical scouting reports will be the calm in the Gruden/McKenzie storm.