Reggie McKenzie has always been known as a guy that loves to work behind the scenes. He keeps his cards close to his vest and enjoys being mysterious. Al Davis also was a National Football League man of mystery in most things but when it came to the draft it was pretty easy to predict who he was going to draft first in most years.
If Al was in charge of this team in reality instead of in spirit this would be another year that it was pretty obvious who he would want. Mr. Davis loved cornerbacks and there is one clear cut corner in this draft that could go within the top 5 in Alabama's Dee Miliner. If Al was drafting then Dee Miliner would be the pick that you see in every expert's mock draft.
However this is the New Era of Excellence and that means a new era of intrigue and counter intelligence. Reggie McKenzie is not the predictable drafter that Al was and he is also in a position where there are so many options that it makes it very tough to predict what will happen anyway. The fact that the Raiders would prefer to trade down only makes it harder to predict.
The thing that seems most interesting about this lead up to the draft with Reggie McKenzie is his use of counter intelligence. There have been reports ranging from one of the top LT's in this draft to Geno Smith being the pick. These rumors are almost for sure strategically leaked to sway people's opinions of trading up in this draft.
Although I would love to see the Raiders draft Eric Fisher to play RT despite him being a potential LT stud, the fact that the rumor mill had sources saying that Fisher was who the Raiders were most looking at leads one to believe the opposite. Reggie runs a tight ship and the information coming out is coming out for a reason, and it probably is not to let the prospect get used to the idea of playing in Oakland.
With Al there was no need for any leaks because it was already obvious who they were going to go after. He didn't care about the draft boards of the experts or the other teams, he picked who he wanted. As the case of Darrius Heyward-Bey showed, even if the rest of the NFL is predicting a player to not be worthy of a high draft pick if Al wanted you he got you.
With the plethora of options available at the number 3 pick in this year's draft and the chances of trading down we really don't have a very good idea of what is going to happen this Thursday, April 25th. Its a little frustrating still not having a clear cut player that the Raiders will be picking this year but it is also fun in a way that Raiders fans hadn't really gotten to experience very often during the time that Al Davis ran this team.
Enjoy the ride Raider Nation. All of our questions will be answered in just a couple of days. This is how fans of most teams have felt year after year while we generally had a strong idea of who the Raiders were going to draft. Get used to it. There will never be another Al Davis, may he rest in peace, and Reggie McKenzie is not so easily predicted. It is yet another difference in these Raiders in the Post-Al era.