As the Raiders begin the process leading up to the NFL Draft, the work starts in Indianapolis at the annual NFL Combine.
The week-long showcase of top college football talent gives teams a chance to evaluate prospects as they go through various drills including the 40-yard dash, broad jump, bench press and more.
The Silver and Black currently hold nine draft picks, with compensatory picks (picks given based on players who left a team in free agency) to be awarded shortly before the new league year and free agency begin.
"It'll be an opportunity to add a good chunk of young players," McDaniels said. "What we need is we need a group of young players to become the core of this team going forward. We have a few, we need more."
One big question facing the Raiders is the quarterback position. Derek Carr was released and Jarrett Stidham, who started two games last season, is a free agent. McDaniels assured that it'll be a long process to find the right fits – whether that's through free agency or the draft – and to build upon the offense that already features Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, to name a few.
"I think that would be the goal is to try to put a good supporting cast around whoever it is," the head coach told local media. "I've said it a number of times, but the quarterback room is going to change dramatically for us in the next two months.
"We only have Chase [Garbers] under contract. I would imagine veterans, rookies, a couple of either is going to be in the cards here as we go through it. Some of that's going to be opportunity, some of that's going to be 'Can we acquire them?'"
A notable portion of the Combine – and McDaniels' self-professed favorite part – is the prospect interviews. All 32 teams meet with certain players to better understand the person behind the stats.
"This will be my first impression of some of these guys. Albeit short, it'll be meaningful," he said.
"We really get an opportunity to get a feel for the kid, hear from him," McDaniels added. "He'll get an opportunity to make an impression on us with his personality."
Through the short interviews, McDaniels, Ziegler and their staff will be able to form an initial assessment and potentially create a clearer picture of their draft plan. It'll also give them a chance to assess the prospect under the traits they deem important – someone with a high football IQ and a commitment to excellence that the Raiders always strive for.
"We want to build a tough team. A smart team. A team that can handle adversity and play well under pressure," McDaniels said. "I've used the word explosive a number of times today. Our league is becoming that.
"If you want to win games in our league, you've got to be tough enough to battle up front in the trenches, protect the quarterback, run the football, stop the run, get after the quarterback. … We're trying to look for those traits in every guy that we add. The more explosive we can get, the better we're going to be."
Take a look back at current Raiders' appearances at past NFL Scouting Combines.