The 2018 NFL Draft has concluded, and the Oakland Raiders selected nine players over the course of seven rounds, and added wide receiver Martavis Bryant via trade. It’s clear General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jon Gruden wanted to build the trenches on offense and defense, and now the team has plenty of depth at those positions. Following the draft, McKenzie met with the media to speak about the 2018 draft class, and wrap up the three-day event.
Here are the quick hits from his press conference:
He provided a quick update on defensive tackle Maurice Hurst’s health.
“The fact is, he does have a heart condition, but it is a situation where he’ll get checked every year. Right now, he’s good.”
McKenzie discussed what it was like drafting for the first time with Gruden and the new coaching staff.
“It was fun. The one thing that this staff has, they have a vision. They know exactly what they want, what they need and what will help them be successful. They communicated really well. I thought it was really good the way the scouts and coaches interacted, myself and Gruden included.”
In the fifth round the Raiders selected punter Johnny Townsend, who will compete for the starting job with Colby Wadman.
With the 228th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Raiders select Oklahoma St. wide receiver Marcell Ateman.
“I love the kid. I know his little brother, who was a roommate to my son in Tennessee before he transferred back to Florida to be with his brother. I know the family really well. I know what he’s made of. He does a great job with directional punts. He’s a great holder, great athlete. I think he has a lot of intangibles to be one of the best punters in years to come.”
The Silver and Black have a lot of depth at the wide receiver position after drafting Marcell Ateman in the seventh round, which McKenzie addressed.
“I’ll tell you what, Marcell, when we had an opportunity to get a big receiver like that, we jumped at it. We’re going to give him a shot and see how it goes but you know even with Switzer, those guys, they can do certain things, being in the slot with Switzer and being able to return punts and with Marcell, giving him the opportunity to show the coaches what he can do. I mean he made a lot of big plays in college and we want to see if he can do that for us.”
He shared his impressions of cornerback Nick Nelson, and how he’ll fit in Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther’s system.
“We think we’re getting a pretty good little corner who can play nickel. We think we’re getting a two-for-one deal there. He’s a really good football player. He knows how to play the top of routes and a lot of pass breakups. He’s just going to have to learn how to get some interceptions.”