General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio
The 2017 NFL Draft is less than a week away, as such, the Oakland Raiders held their annual pre-draft press conference Friday at the team's Alameda, Calif., facility.
Both General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio fielded questions from the media for approximately 30 minutes, discussing topics like the team's draft strategy, as well as the ongoing situation with running back Marshawn Lynch.
Here are the quick hits from their time at the podium.
At No. 24 overall, McKenzie has a simple strategy; select the best player available.
McKenzie:"We're going to take the best player, but there are some good defensive players in this draft. We're going to follow our board, like always."
As former linebackers themselves, McKenkzie and Del Rio know what to look for when it comes to evaluating that position in particular.
McKenzie:"We both love good football players, number one. We want good linebacker play, and Jack and I know what a good linebacker is supposed to look like. We're going to get us a couple I hope, at some point before we play in September, whether it's in this draft, or post-draft, or trade, or somebody gets released. We're going to do everything we can to upgrade our team, every position, including linebacker."
**While the Raiders were recently approved for relocation to Las Vegas, Del Rio is currently focused on "the here and the now."
Del Rio:"Right now, it's all about the here and the now. We're definitely here, now. We know we're going to train here this year in this building. We're going to play over in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, so we're going to be here, and be present in the moment, and for us, it's all about, it's a day to day, week to week league, really, so worrying about something three years from now, I think that's really more for other people. For us, for coaches, for players, we're going to focus on the tough schedule that just came out Thursday, and now we can dig into our preparation, and attack each game with the necessary level of preparation, and then go get it."
The Raiders general manager also gave an update on the ongoing situation with running back Marshawn Lynch:
McKenzie:"At some point you'd like to know, and prior to the draft is that point. You'd like to know that, but our doors [are] open, and we're not shutting the door until that time pretty much, but who knows after that. You're not going to say never, but the door is still open."
McKenzie typically hasn't liked to trade up in the draft in the past, but that won't stop him if the right situation presents itself.
McKenzie:"We really want to add players, good players, and this is a good draft to add players, but I will not hesitate if I have to move up a little bit to get an impact player that we feel is on our board. If we have to move up a little bit, I will not hesitate."
The NFL released the 2017 regular season schedule Thursday evening, and Del Rio gave his assessment of the Raiders slate of games.
McKenzie:"Tough schedule, nine road games is a challenge. Seven home, nine on the road, there are challenges there. We have three out of four to start the year on the road, and three out of four to end the year on the road. Those are tough things to get through, playing in the East, so a lot of travel involved. We have to handle our business that way, and be real good with that. It's a challenging schedule for sure, but we're going to need to dig in, compete, and be as strong as we can each week."
McKenzie said that both the Raiders and the Derek Carr's representation are motivated to get a long-term deal done for No. 4 before the start of training camp.
McKenzie:"I feel good about it. When both sides want to get it done, that's a great step, a great first step, so I'm looking forward to us getting it done by then."