Raiders' New GM Mayock Sees a Need for Speed

Much of Mike Mayock’s time so far as Raiders general manager has been spent evaluating his own roster.

While he’ll soon turn his attention to veteran free agency and the NFL draft, Mayock first needs to be comfortable in his knowledge of the players already on the team.

Mayock accompanied head coach Jon Gruden to the Senior Bowl this past weekend and got an up-close look at some of the best players eligible for this spring’s draft, when Oakland has three first-round selections.

But he also told reporters what he’s seen so far in his film review and talent appraisal of the current roster.

“You look at that roster and offensively, the center and the guards have been good football players,” Mayock told the media. “They drafted two good tackles (Kolton Miller, Brandon Parker), I think, last year that have a chance to be good football players. I think you always want to be strong up front. I grew up the son of a coach, who was an offensive line coach at one point, so I’ve always been an inside-out guy. I think right now with the center and two guards (Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson), they are pretty good in the middle there.”

Mayock believes those two tackles need to make “a big jump” in their second years, when offensive linemen typically can get much better.

Also, Mayock believes in speed. The Raiders need more of it, he says.

“I think everybody knows we could use some speed at wide receiver,” he said. “I think defensively we need speed everywhere. I think our defensive tackles are pretty good. We got a couple of young defensive tackles that I like, but again we are looking for a pop in Year 2.

“(Linebacker) Tahir Whitehead is a good football player, really solid. I think we need to get better on the back end. I think Karl Joseph played well at the end of the year (at safety) and they did a nice job finding a role for him.

“Without getting real specific, I just think that when you are looking at a team that is 4-12, there are a lot of holes.”

Gruden will have the final say on any personnel decisions, and Mayock says he’s fine with that. But Gruden also says he’ll defer to Mayock on a lot of things.

“He’s going to call a lot of the shots,” Gruden told Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re going to work hand in hand. We’re working very hard to see things clearly. And I’m sure there’s going to be some disagreements. But he’s going to have plenty of authority to make the calls that are necessary for the Raiders.”

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