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Raiders draft process has new level of 'inclusiveness' for Jack Del Rio

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Reggie McKenzie had his pre-draft press conference on Friday. But it wasn't just McKenzie taking the stage to answer questions about the Raiders draft process; he shared the stage with new head coach Jack Del Rio.

With the exception of Mark Davis not taking an active part, it was much the same as Del Rio's introductory press conference. And the two had a fairly equal share of the questions in both.

That has been the common theme since the former longtime NFL head coach joined the Raiders. The shared stage and shared decision making process between he and McKenzie.

The very first question was directed to Del Rio about how involved he was in the process. A question answered with a McKenzie quip "Can you get him out of my office?", which prompted some laughs.

There is a lot to this. From the outset of his hiring, it was apparent the decision-making abilities from a Raiders head coach was at a higher level than it had ever been. And according to Del Rio, it's the most involved he's witnessed or experienced in his many years in coaching, including his nine years at the helm in Jacksonville.

"Yeah, we're involved," said Del Rio. "Reggie has been great about being inclusive and watching the process. The coaching evaluation is one aspect of it. Our guys have worked very hard and their input has been taken into consideration, along with all the works that the scouts do year-round in terms of gathering background information and getting a feel for the players. So it's just one piece of the big process of going through these guys and evaluating them."

It's an interesting concept, really, because without being a fly on the wall of the GM's office or the ‘war room' on draft day, some might think most teams run this way. Then again, if you are a Raiders fan you understand that during the nearly 50 years Al Davis had been with and owned the Raiders, he typically had the final say, if not the only say.

With Del Rio, the Raiders have one of their most experienced head coaches in franchise history. His experience as a player and coach in the NFL is as extensive as Reggie McKenzie's as a player and executive.

The key here is this isn't a competition. There should be no power struggle. Two heads are better than one. 60 years of NFL experience combined is better than 30. And that doesn't even include the years of experience the rest of the coaching staff and scouts bring to this process.

"We're doing our work to make sure that we cover all positions, and we've got them covered and we're having great conversations with scouts and coaches, trying to get our board set the way we need to," said McKenzie. "Hopefully, come next weekend, we add some really good players to our roster."

With the first phase of offseason training, voluntary minicamp, and pre-draft workouts all complete, the next step for McKenzie, Del Rio, and the Raiders front office is the draft. Just six days away now.