Reggie McKenzie Talks Jon Gruden, Team Needs At NFL Scouting Combine

Posted Feb 28, 2018

General Manager Reggie McKenzie spoke with a select group of media members Wednesday afternoon. Here's what we learned.

Reggie McKenzie loves draft picks.

The Oakland Raiders general manger has made it abundantly clear since he joined the Silver and Black how much he covets having picks in each year’s draft, so having two picks in a round is certainly reason for the former linebacker to smile, but six? Come on now.

That was probably a scenario McKenzie never even dreamed about, but, after the NFL awarded the Raiders four compensatory picks last week, all in the sixth round, that’s the scenario McKenzie, Head Coach Jon Gruden, and their respective staffs find themselves in on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft.

“I guess the Raiders own the sixth round a little bit, huh,” McKenzie posited Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis. “That’s a lot of picks in one round.”

With 11 picks total in this year’s draft, McKenzie will have ample opportunity to rebuild and retool the Raiders roster, but even for a him – a man who’s spent most of his adult life in professional football – six picks in a round is a first.

“When they started handing out these compensatory [picks,] I remember a lot of seventh-round-type picks, but the sixth round…. I can’t recall that many,” McKenzie said. “I already had two anyway, and to add four more, that’ll be interesting.”

McKenzie talked to local reporters Wednesday afternoon as he and a heavy Raiders contingent prepare to embark on all the evaluation and interviews that coincide with Combine week.

So, now a little under two months in, how have things been going between McKenzie and Gruden?

“It’s been great,” McKenzie said. “It’s been a lot of fun, a lot of fun. A lot of work, a lot of getting to know some guys. New staff, and for them, them to know the building, know our scouts. We’ve been together. Getting together and going through this process here, and evaluating our team, free agency. We’ve had a lot of time together, and they’re hitting the ground running pretty good.”

The Raiders general manager spoke for a little over 20 minutes, here a few noteworthy observations from his roundtable:

-Per usual, McKenzie didn’t discuss contract specifics, but he didn’t mince words when asked about the future of All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack:

“Make no bones about it, we want Khalil to be a Raider. We’ll leave it at that.”

-The Raiders are participating in a coin toss Friday afternoon with the San Francisco 49ers to see who ultimately ends up with the ninth pick in the draft. But whether he picks ninth or 10th, McKenzie isn’t too concerned.

“I don’t think it matters much, as far as the player. Now, maybe trade value, it values a little bit more… No, won’t lose any sleep at all.”

-Much has been made this offseason about the future of wide receiver Michael Crabtree, but at this point, McKenzie is comfortable moving forward with No.15.

“Mike didn’t finish, but neither did we as a team. Things did not go well, so we can point fingers at a lot of those types of situations, but we’re not going to dwell on what happened last year, it’s all about that we’re going to press forward, and get the most out of the guys we got, and get it working.”

-Without getting too specific, McKenzie spoke about what he sees as the Raiders needs going forward in 2018.

“We need depth in some areas. We need starters in some areas. What we have, it’s like last year. We have a lot of players who are free agents, so if we can’t re-sign them, we’re going to have to replace them. Along with the injures and stuff, we have to make sure, depth-wise, we’re good… We have a lot of holes to kind of fill in.”

-McKenzie’s son Kahlil, a defensive tackle at Tennessee, is going to be participating in the Combine workouts this week, throwing in a bit of a wrinkle for his dad’s work week in Indianapolis.

“He’s fired up for this. He called me. He’s about to take off right now and head on down this way. It’ll be interesting to see him go through the process and see him work out.”