The Las Vegas Raiders came out of the 2021 NFL Draft with a solid defensive haul. General manager Mike Mayock met with the local media when the player selection meeting concluded and shared some observations.
Mayock told the local media the team’s board matched up with what they needed to do. He said the Raiders had no intention to draft safety Tyree Gillespie. However, he was still available, and felt the need to take a flyer on him. Throughout the process, they knew they had to address the defense and needed to get better in all three levels.
In the end, Mayock was happy with the way the draft unfolded and likes what the team has done in the offseason, including the addition of defensive tackle Solomon Thomas and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The general manager says it isn’t easy for young players to contribute right away and adds that safety Johnathan Abram and cornerback Damon Arnette must bounce back. He believes Abram is going to have a big year. Moreover, he thinks that having them healthy will help them become key contributors. All in all, he likes the secondary’s potential.
Mayock says the Raiders feel good about the blend of young guys and veterans. They are aware they weren’t very good last year, so they’ve been working throughout the offseason to change that. There’s a whole bunch of new players on the defensive side of the ball, they will have defensive backs competing. They need the youngsters to play at the level they need to.
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock talked about other challenges
Later in the sit down, Mayock mentioned he feels good about free-agent addition Rasul Douglas. He thinks his ball skills were outstanding at West Virginia, and loves the way he competes. Moreover, he believes he’s going to bring a level of competition, toughness and professionalism. Vic Tafur of The Athletic also asked him about veteran cornerback Richard Sherman but he said he had no comment.
Mayock then said the uncertainties regarding the offseason program will be a challenge. After all, the team’s brass can’t meet in person with the players. “When can we get back to normal? Let’s get on the field, let’s see what these kinds can bring to the table.” He is pleased with the additions the team has made, but wonders how training camp will play out.
The Raiders have made it a point of emphasis to upgrade their defense. They have poured plenty of resources this offseason, and the unit is in better shape than it was a few months ago. Can’t wait for Las Vegas’ revamped defense to take the field in Week 1.
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Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal