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Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock talk about the ‘huge advantage’ to Raiders staff coaching the Senior Bowl

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL regular season is over and the Raiders have wasted no time in getting to work on the next phase. On the same day we learned Mike Mayock would be the team’s new GM we also learned the Raiders coaching staff will be going to Mobile to coach the North squad.

There are a lot of NFL teams who would jump at the chance to coach in the Senior Bowl. For that reason, the opportunity is given to those teams with the league’s worst records first. Finishing at 4-12, the Raiders are tied for the second worst record in the NFL. Jon Gruden said ‘yes, please’ to the opportunity to coach in the Senior Bowl and today it was announced he will get that chance.

He will be accompanied by his new GM Mike Mayock who is absolutely no stranger to Mobile for the annual College All Star game. So much so that Jon Gruden joked Mayock is “going to run for office in Mobile.”

“I’ve always felt that I did a better job when I got to know the players a little bit,” Mayock said of his years as a draft analyst for NFL Network.

“You take a Carson Wentz for instance. He went to the Senior Bowl and kind of announced himself. I got to know him a little bit there. Then we go to the combine and I interviewed and spent some time, go to Fargo North Dakota and you start talking about quarterback – and every position for that matter – the more you find out what makes a kid tick, the better you can evaluate that kid. And I came away from Carson Wentz banging the table at that point just because I felt so strongly about the kid. And that’s just an example.

“I think when you get to the Senior Bowl and you get the access to these kids and the opportunity to see both teams practice, how they practice, how they retain information, how they process information, both on an install basis and mechanics on the field, I think it’s just a huge advantage. And we’ve been talking about this for several days now hoping that this would come together.”

Gruden himself has coached in the game four times, so he knows what to expect and the kind of benefits to that level of talent evaluation.

“The last time I coached the Senior Bowl as a head coach of the Raiders we drafted Eric Barton and Rod Coleman. It was a great tool for us. In Tampa and in Oakland,” said Gruden.

“We have three picks in the first round and we also pick in every other round. And we also have the potential to add players after the draft. But it will give our coaches I think a chance to go to Mobile in front of the entire NFL and show what kind of coaching staff we have, show the energy, the enthusiasm that we have as a staff. We’re going to sell ourselves to the players.

“If we can eliminate 2 or 3 players by coaching the Senior Bowl, sometimes that’s just as important as finding 2 or 3 guys that you really want. But we’re really excited. It will be the 4th time that I’ve done it and we have to do a good job in this draft and the best way to do it is to be as close as possible to the players.”

Though the Raiders staff will coach the North team, and we know many of the players who will play in the game. But we don’t yet know which players will be on which squad. And you can’t assume SEC players will be on the South squad, either. That would make sense, but they aren’t always split up geographically.

See the list of accepted Senior Bowl invites here.