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How Mike Mayock can give Raiders draft advantage

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Raiders GM’s eye for talent is even more vital this year

Reese’s Senior Bowl
Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

This tweet by Mike Lombardi — a longtime former front-office assistant to Al Davis — got me thinking.

Lombardi could be right.

The circumstances surrounding next month’s NFL draft will change because of the coronavirus crisis, and the ability for due diligence has been lost.

Therefore, the draft is going to come down to the basics — game film. It’s going to be very raw and the opportunity for overthinking will be lost, which is a good thing.

But the reality is, the best true talent evaluators are going to draft the best in 2020. That’s where I think the Raiders are going to be in good shape as GM Mike Mayock is a film junkie. He has a great eye — it’s as simple as that.

That’s another reason why Jon Gruden brought Mayock in from the NFL Network at the end of the 2018 season, because Gruden needed help with the draft.

Mayock wasn’t hired as general manager because of his knowledge of the salary cap or experience as a front office guy, as he’d never worked for a team before. He was brought in to be Gruden’s top sheriff for the draft. The dude knows how to evaluate college players.

The Raiders had a great draft in 2019 after a pretty shoddy one the year before under Gruden and Reggie McKenzie. Gruden trusts Mayock’s draft opinion greatly.

Surely, Mayock is hunkered down during these days of isolation, fully engaged in the game film of hundreds of draft prospects. With no pre-draft visits thrown into the mix, every teams’ picks this year will be, as Lombardi tweeted, based mostly on tape.

Can a guy play or not?

Mayock is one of the top people in the league who can best answer that question. Come the draft, the Raiders should be among the fully teams equipped to handle this odd year of adjustment.

So, while the Raiders may be one of the team’s affected by the logistical issues caused by the coronavirus crisis, once the picks start rolling in, Las Vegas should be in good shape.

The one bummer for Mayock is he doesn’t have many late-round picks — the Raiders’ last pick in the fifth round — and game film will come most into play in the late rounds. Still, Mayock’s game film eye will be able to help with undrafted free agents, which is also a big part of the draft process.