Mike Mayock has been a busy guy.
After being announced as the General Manager of the Oakland Raiders on the final day of 2018, Mayock has already been to a handful of college all-star games over the past month, and now, he and his staff have spent the past week in Mobile, Ala., prepping for the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl.
Following Thursday's practice, Mayock spoke with the local media, and touched on a variety of topics, including how his first month on the job is going, and the importance of transparency between the coaching staff and the scouting department.
Here are the highlights from his session.
In terms of a vantage point to watch practice, the Raiders General Manager likes to be on the field.
Mayock: "I'd actually rather be on the field, because I'm going to watch the film of the practice anyway. When I get done here, I'm going to go back to the room, I'm going to watch the South practice, not on the NFL Network, but on our film. I'm going to get to see that. What I like about being on the field is I like watching the kids react to calls. I like seeing which guy's eyes open up as they're trying to remember a play. Who's taking control? Who is the off-the-ball linebacker that's taking control? Which safety is communicating? I can't pick that up, up in the booth; I can when I'm at practice."
Mayock spoke about where the most evaluation comes during Senior Bowl week; on the field, or in the classroom.
Mayock: "It's a really good blend. I had a great conversation with a veteran scout from another team today who was talking about how there are certain traps in this process, and you always have to go back to the film of them at their schools, so we're gathering information this week, and I've always loved Senior Bowl more than Combine because there are pads on, and you're playing, and you're trying to absorb information, and play the game. In football, however, we place all this emphasis on the one-on-one drills. We did that at the NFL Network. I'm the one who pushed it. I thought one-on-one drills were best for the audience, and for the evaluator; however, there's a trap there. A kid can come out here and flash. A kid with really good, natural ability and talent can come out here and have one great week, and put it all together, but you have to go back and say, why? Why was he just kind of an average college player for three years? Why couldn't he get on the field? Why didn't he play more consistently? There's a trap at the Combine, there's a trap at the Senior Bowl, where you always have to go back to what they did on their college tape, and to me, this is a great crosscheck. It forces you to go back and reevaluate some players."
Over the past month, the Raiders new General Manager realized he wants to become a better listener going forward.
Mayock: "The last, whatever, 15, 16 years, my job has been A) to give out information B) evaluate, so I'm talking a lot, and what I have to be is a better listener. I've got a staff of scouts now. I've got to not only listen to them, but I can't always let them know what I think, because I want their true evaluations, as opposed to being colored by what the GM thinks. I'm trying to train myself a little bit because I have a big friggin' mouth when I talk about football, and I have to watch myself a little bit."
Right now, for Mayock, transparency is the name of the game.
"We are a completely, open and transparent building right now, as far as the coaches and the scouts. I don't know what was going on before, and I'm not going to comment on anything else, all I'm going to tell you is that – and I've said this before to people - that the common denominator of dysfunctional football buildings are when the coaches and the scouts don't have a true relationship that transpires both ways, and my goal walking in the building Day 1, was to kind of use my relationship with the coaching staff, and there's a bunch of them. I can walk in at 5:30 in the morning with a cup of coffee, and sit down with any of them, and talk ball, and talk about their positions, and talk about what they're looking for, and the point I made with Coach Gruden and the entire staff has been, we're going to give you everything we have."
Mayock also gave a general assessment of the current state of the Silver and Black's roster:
Mayock: "You look at that roster and offensively, the center and the guards have been good football players. They drafted two good tackles, 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, they are pretty good in the middle there. You'd like to see a big jump from those tackles. Year 2 is where you typically get your biggest jump with young guys, so you'd like to see a big jump there. I think everybody knows we could use some speed at wide receiver. 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 two. [Linebacker] Tahir Whitehead is a good football player, really solid. I think we need to get better on the back end. I think [Safety] Karl Joseph played well at the end of the year and they did a nice job finding a role for him. Without getting real specific, I just think that when you are looking at team that is 4-12 there are a lot of holes."