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Mike Mayock realizing big differences between being analyst and being a GM and looking for a ‘Raiders star’ at the scouting combine

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Mike Mayock spoke at the scouting combine where he’s discovering life is a lot different as a GM.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Attending the combine is not a new thing for Mike Mayock. He’s been a mainstay at the annual event for a long time as lead draft analyst for NFL Network. But this time is a lot different for him. He’s a General Manager now with the Raiders. That changes things.

“It’s a little different, I’m not gonna lie to you,” said Mayock. “It’s been kind of a whirlwind couple of months. I’ve known [Jon] Gruden a lot of years, but... you walk in at 5:30 [am] and he’s like ‘Why are you late? I’ve been here an hour.’ It’s been awesome. It’s a little different and I’m really excited about the week.”

Not just draft evaluation anymore

“What’s different though is evaluating free agency this year for instance. So, while I had my scouts in for two weeks, we went 15 straight days, 12 hours a day sitting in a room with the scouts, putting in our first draft board, but I’d have to jump in and now for free agency.”

Working the phones in trade conversations, most notably for teams who may be looking to jump up to get a quarterback

“It’s an interesting question and I think what’s happening is obviously quarterbacks drive the process, but I think as we become a more and more pass driven league, we’re seeing more and more potential trade partners with people that can stop the pass — defensive linemen, corners, obviously the wide receiver thing is a different conversation, but I think defensively I’m hearing more and more from coaches about ‘hey, how do we stop this spread offense?’ Where are the priorities now on defense? I think that conversation’s part of it now also, not just the quarterbacks.”

More access to prospects at the combine

“I think the difference this week for me is that I get more access to the kids, which is helpful. So, that the biggest difference for me this week. We had two interviews last night, we’re going to have eight more tonight, 60 overall. The 15 minutes with those kids is critical, the 30 visits in Oakland are critical, the local visits... the more time you get with the kids the better job you do scouting.”

Now scouting for scheme fits for one team

“What I like is that is for 20 years or whatever I’d had to do every scheme fit there was, both offensively and defensively. What works in New England, what works in Philly, what works in Chicago, trying to understand how a GM drafts around the league, what coaches look for and now that I get to sit down with Jon Gruden and Paul Guenther and define who we are and what we want in our building.”

Finding a ‘Raider star’

“When we talk about a Raider star, we’re not talking about a star in the sense of a star in the NFL, we’re talking about somebody who we think fits what we’re looking for ideally as an Oakland Raider. And I think every team has it. They call it something different, but every team has the same philosophy. But simplistically what we’re looking for is big, fast guys that can run and love the frickin’ game of football. They love it, they show up every day, they give you a full day of work, and they can’t wait to play and compete on Sunday. That oversimplifies it but that for us what a Raider star is.”