The Covid-19 pandemic altered the NFL’s 2020 offseason dramatically. As for Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, he’s been able to adapt so far. There is no reason to think he can continue to do so.
Since joining the Silver and Black, Mayock has helped revamp the team’s roster with excellent drafting. The 2019 rookie class is already looking like one of the Raiders’ strongest in a long time. While the 2020 rookies have yet to take the field in a game, based on what everyone’s seen so far, history might repeat itself. The biggest reason for this success is the general manager’s scouting, looking for impact players, and seeing in players what others don’t.
The current state of affairs due to the pandemic might change how Mayock prepares and executes this part of his job. In particular, the impending challenge of not having a 2020 college football season might make it additionally challenging.
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Can The Raiders Adapt?
When it came to dealing with a virtual draft back in April, Mayock embraced the challenge and there’s no reason to think scouting for 2021 will be any different.
“You can go one of two ways here… you either embrace it and say, ‘This is pretty frickin’ cool that we’re really just going to watch film and trust who we are as evaluators and trust in who we want in our building. Or you can kind of look at it and say, ‘Well, I don’t have verified medicals, and I don’t have verified 40s, and I don’t have verified height, weight, speed,’ and panic about it.”
Mayock was absolutely correct in his stance that as an organization you can only go about it in two ways. Either you adapt to your circumstances and do the best with what you have. In the Raiders’ case, they trusted their instincts as evaluators and went about their business as usual. The alternative would be to “panic” as Mayock said, and screw up your scouting as an organization.
While as a whole, college football hasn’t been canceled, the MAC conference did in fact scrub their 2020 season along with the Big Ten conference. It shouldn’t shock fans if the other major conferences soon follow suit. It’ll be interesting to see how Mayock and other NFL general managers adapt and tackle this issue head-on while the season progresses.
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*Top Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports