It's been 30 days since Josh McDaniels has been introduced as the Las Vegas Raiders new head coach – and what a busy 30 days it has been for him and the Silver and Black.
McDaniels arrived to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine and addressed the national media regarding some questions surrounding the 2022 Raiders. He and new Raiders General Manager Dave Ziegler enter a situation where they will work to improve an already talented Raiders team that reached the playoffs last season.
Raiders.com's Levi Edwards met up with McDaniels for an exclusive Q&A to dig deeper into his Combine mindset.
Levi Edwards: What's your favorite part about the NFL Scouting Combine?
Josh McDaniels: Two things for me. The opportunity to get to speak to the prospects for the first time. Now you put a name to a face and you get an opportunity to understand who they are as people. And then second, this is a big fraternity that we're in, and we don't get a lot of opportunities to do this where you get the chance to see some people that you coached with or worked with before. So just to have the opportunity to interact with them and maintain those personal relationships is great for us.
LE: In your time coming to the Combine, has there ever been a player completely blow you away?
JM: Probably more than I can remember where you see a guy do something really special. But off the top of my head, I'm very careful to overjudge what I see in these workouts. I usually rely on what I see on the tape more than what I do just on the workout for 20-25 minutes. I think you can get caught in that a little bit. There's always going to be players that test really well, but what you want is the players that test well and it matches the film. That's what makes you feel good about it.
LE: What do you believe is the deepest position group in this year's draft class?
JM: It's hard for me to say that now because I've only had a splash of them at this point. As you can imagine, the last month has been filled with a million things. Most importantly, getting the staff hired and put in place and doing a lot of the groundwork on that. But the next two months are going to be really important for me as I dive into this with Dave [Ziegler].
LE: Speaking about putting together your staff, what do you think Mick Lombardi will bring to the Raiders as your offensive coordinator?
JM: Mick's a really smart, young coach. Works really hard, he's coached multiple positions on the offense. He's well-versed in our system. I have total confidence in him as a teacher, his ability to communicate with the players and the staff, and he's a tireless worker. There's nothing that I've given Mick to do that he hasn't done better than I thought he would. Just a huge advantage for me.
LE: With the upcoming draft, are you going to be prioritizing position needs or best player available?
JM: We're going to try and improve the team, and I think when you start doing position of need, you tend to start skipping over players that really might be better players. So I think the right thing to do in almost every situation is to draft players that make your football team as much improved as you can. So whatever the position is, we hope it does improve the Raiders significantly. And over time if we make a strength stronger, that's fine. Then we've got to find a way to try to add to a place of weakness. If it fits perfectly where we needed it and it's the best player, then so be it and we'll try to take him too.
LE: In your wildest dreams, did you ever think your Raiders head coaching debut would be in your high school Canton McKinley's home stadium?
JM: No, I would not have. It's a dream come true for me to have a chance to go home and then to have this be the setting. For my first opportunity to lead our football team as the head coach be in Canton? Five minutes from where I grew up with so many family and friends that I'm sure will be there? This really is a dream come true for me and it's a great opportunity for our football team – to get a little bit of a head start on the 2022 season and pour into one another and put the foundation in place for a really good year.
View the top 50 prospects leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft, according to NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah.