Gruden loves to troll, but he drops jewels too

Unlike general manager Mike Mayock, Jon Gruden is more than happy to share the Oakland Raiders draft approach come April.

“We can address tight end, running back, left guard, linebacker, another corner, three defensive ends to help us out … who knows. Maybe quarterback. You never know,” a bristling Gruden said during the coaches’ breakfast at the NFL owners meeting on Tuesday morning. For nearly an hour, Gruden answered all the questions presented to him in the only fashion he knows how.

“I don’t know. You make all these statements, it depends on when you’re on the clock and sitting at No. 4 and the offers you have, to move back to whatever. What are they giving you?” the wily head coach said upon being queried about what the Raiders have planned. “We’re wide open to move up, wide open to moving back, and wide open sitting here and taking a guy that falls to us.”

Chucky has all the bases covered, no?

If you already didn’t know, Gruden has a doctorate in trolling. Tuesday’s musings proved that repeatedly in front of the throng of media in Phoenix. The Raiders aren’t tipping their cap on draft plans and neither should they. Sure, you can fire back with the “it’s because they don’t know what they’re doing” line, hackneyed as it is. This is draft season, baby. Which means it’s lying season.

Was everything Gruden said on Tuesday a fib? I’ll let you be the judge of that. In between the obvious trolling Gruden has perfected as both a head coach and TV personality, he does drop some dimes now and then. When his former colleague at ESPN Suzy Kolber asked a great question about what Gruden looks for in a draft prospect, Chucky had this jewel:

“I try to find out what’s in their wallet. What makes you tick, what is it you love?,” Gruden began, “On the field, off the field. What do you love about football, what do you love about life? Do you have any passion in your life at all?

“I like to look at that team play when they’re behind. I loved watching (Michigan’s) Rashan Gary against Ohio State in the second half when they’re behind. That’s when you can find out how much they love it. I love to see them play against the toughest opponent. See if it brings out the best in them.”

And the inevitable quarterback quandary came up, especially after the Raiders just signed Landry Jones. In Gruden fashion, the head honcho waxed poetic about the QB room that is headlined by Derek Car.

“You know what, I’ve always liked (Mike) Glennon. I like this guy because he’s got arm talent, some experience as starter and he’s really smart,” Gruden started. “Landry is a guy who started and won games in the league. He can help ups with Antonio’s (Brown) transition, as well. What did they call this in Pittsburgh? Why did he convert his route and why he did that. There’s some really interesting side things Landry can bring to the table.

“And don’t forget Nate Peterman. He was an opening day starter in Buffalo last year. And I know a lot of people forgot about him.”

Forgettable as the Peter Man’s performance with the Bills was, just as he’s adamant he’s going to steer the Raiders’ ship in the right direction, Gruden appears intent on turning Peterman around as a signal caller.

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