The day after finishing the 2018 season with a dismal 4-12 record, Jon Gruden and the Raiders headed for the new year with fireworks by naming Mike Mayock the team’s new general manager. While he and Gruden have plenty of holes to fill, Mayock is walking into a dream scenario for a “personnel guy” with five first round picks in the next two years.
“Some people were asking me about what appeals to this job, and I was like, ‘what doesn’t,’” Mayock told NFL Network. “I love the head coach. They got three first round picks this year, two next year, they did a great job bringing some additional dollars into this coming year’s free agency salary cap. So if you’re a personnel guy sitting here going ‘wait a second, I have five first round picks and some money to spend in free agency’ what isn’t good about it?”
You may not find a better situation for a new GM than the one Mayock is entering right now. For contrast, just look at what Raiders former general manager Reggie McKenzie inherited when he was named the team’s GM in 2012.
With his third round pick used on Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft and former head coach Hue Jackson trading a 2012 first round pick and 2013 second rounder for Carson Palmer, McKenzie had few picks to work with.
That meant McKenzie’s first draft with the Silver & Black he wouldn’t have a selection until the 95th pick at the end of the third round. They originally entered the offseason with only a fifth and sixth round pick, but were awarded compensatory picks in the third, fourth, fifth, and seventh rounds.
Before he could even focus on the draft, McKenzie first had to detonate the entire roster as the Raiders were in salary cap hell. Between his lack of picks and salary cap space, it took McKenzie until the 2015 season to build a roster that could effectively compete in the NFL.
Mayock enters a far more favorable situation as he has plenty of wiggle room to get it right with the Raiders. The draft is where he specializes, so the Raiders bounty of picks offer him and Gruden the chance to turnaround the Raiders roster relatively quickly. He also will have $78 million in cap space to work with for the upcoming free agent class.
Add in the fact that Mayock is comfortable with the Raiders coaching staff, and the deal becomes only that much sweeter.
“You take it a step further, I already talked about Jon Gruden,” Mayock said. “Paul Guenther and I go back 20 years. Rich Bissacia and I go back 30 years. I mean, I know most of these guys...the point is I can walk into this building and we all talk the same language, and I can’t tell you how excited I am.”