clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How's Reggie McKenzie doing so far?

New, comments
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2003, the Raiders have been a laughing stock of the NFL. Late owner, Al Davis was going all in his last few seasons, handing out massive contracts to a few players. By the time Davis passed away in 2011, the Raiders had extremely limited cap space.

Enter Reggie McKenzie.

Hiring a new head coach

The first move the new general manager made was firing Hue Jackson and hiring Dennis Allen as the Raiders head coach.

Beginning the rebuilding process

Next, McKenzie began stripping the team of the old regime apart. Players such as Stanford Routt, Kamerion Wimbley, Carson Palmer, Tommy Kelly, Louis MurphyDeMarcus Van Dyke, Rolando McClain, Michael Huff and Darrius Heyward-Bey were either cut or traded within a year and a half of McKenzie's arrival. While cutting over half the Raiders starters all but guaranteed an awful record, it began a rebuilding process that was ten years overdue.

Free Agency

McKenzie then had to find a way to temporarily field a team with extremely limited cap space. Through the next two seasons, the puppet master used free agency to sign proven veterans at bargain prices in an attempt to win now.

Phillip Wheeler, Charles Woodson, Tracy Porter, Rashad JenningsKevin Burnett, Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell were all signed to short deals. This way, they would be enticed to play well and the Raiders would not be stuck with any long/bad contracts.

This last offseason, McKenzie let many of his previous signings go and repeated the process with new players. Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, James Jones, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Schaub (traded for), Donald Penn, Antonio Smith, Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown all received short/inexpensive contracts in hopes that they can lead the Silver and Black to their first winning season in over a decade.

But in the process, McKenzie controversially allowed Lamarr Houston, Jared Veldheer and Rashad Jennings to test their worth in free agency. All three players took their talents elsewhere.

The NFL Draft


In 2012, the Raiders did not pick until the end of the third round. With the limited picks, McKenzie grabbed Miles Burris in the middle of the fourth round. In his rookie season, Burris had 64 tackles finishing third best on the team. The third-year linebacker is now competing with Sio Moore for the starting weakside linebacker job.

Perhaps the best rookie addition came after the draft when McKenzie signed wide receiver Rod Streater as an undrafted free agent. Streater was the Raiders top receiver last season.


The 2013 NFL Draft looks to have gone much better for the Raiders. D.J. Hayden (1st rd), Menelik Watson (2nd rd), Sio Moore (3rd rd) and Mychal Rivera (6th rd) are all projected starters. Defensive tackle Stacy McGee (6th rd) saw a lot of playing time last season and the Raiders have high hopes for him.

Again, the best addition may have occurred after the draft when McKenzie claimed free agent wide receiver Andre Holmes off the waivers. The 6-4, 210-pound receiver started several games last season, has a high upside and is projected to start across from Rod Streater this season.


The early reviews of this year's draft for Reggie McKenzie suggest he may have fired on all cylinders. Khalil Mack (1st rd, 5th overall) is a sure thing to start at outside linebacker. He has been compared to Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller and is a favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

In the second round, the Raiders drafted Derek Carr in hopes of finding their quarterback of the future. He has already passed Matt McGloin in the depth chart and will have an opportunity to battle Matt Schaub for the starting job.

Gabe Jackson (3rd rd), Justin Ellis (4th rd) and T.J. Carrie (7th rd) could all see significant playing time this season.

Keith McGill (4th rd), Shelby Harris (7th rd) and Jonathan Dowling (7th rd) are all unlikely to start this season.

While the Raiders winning percentage has been paltry during Reggie McKenzie's tenure, the rebuilding process is well underway. How would you grade the general manager through two seasons with the Silver and Black?