General Manager Reggie McKenzie
Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie held an exclusive call with Season Ticket Members Tuesday night.
During the hour-long call, McKenzie covered a variety of topics, ranging from the addition of running back Marshawn Lynch to his assessment of some of the members of the 2017 rookie class.
Here are the highlights from his call.
McKenzie spoke about this year's crop of undrafted free agents.
"I can tell you one thing; we're hopeful that we can have some guys step up and try to make a name for themselves throughout the offseason and training camp. They're just in the process now. They just got back yesterday, and we've only had the Rookie Mini-camp to work with them, [where] they didn't do too much, but we're hopeful that some of these guys can show up and really see what they can do in training camp, but we have some good prospects, so we'll wait and see."
He also shared his breakdown of rookie running back Elijah Hood.
"So far he's done extremely well. These guys are getting so much thrown at them right now, and trying to learn this playbook, but the young man is extremely tough. He's a physical runner. He's definitely more of a between-the-tackles banger than he is a receiving threat or an outside runner, but he has enough speed to bounce it outside, and get a lot of yards. What he can do will complement some of our other backs. He's definitely a good back to add to the mix."
Throughout the entire courting process, McKenzie was confident that Marshawn Lynch would eventually become a Raider.
"I was not really thinking that it was not going to get done. We were confident that it was going to get done. The thing is, that Marshawn's relationship with Seattle, to be allowed to come back and play, and once he made it known that he wanted to be a Raider, that fit right along with my plans, so that was great to hear that he wanted to play for the Raiders, because we definitely want him to be a part of the Raider Nation, and my relationship with [Seattle Seahawks General Manager] John [Schneider] in Seattle made it an easy transition."
Versatility is going to be the name of the game with rookie cornerback Gareon Conley.
"I think the coaches have a big plan for Gareon. Now, at this point, he's going to backup until he can show himself in training camp, so he'll backup the outside corner, and the nickel corner positions, so he's going to learn multiple cornerback positions. I'm sure he'll be ready to roll come fall, and we'll see where it goes once the competition starts."
McKenzie believes wide receiver Amari Cooper will take a step forward in his development this season.
"We're definitely hoping that he takes a big leap. He started off really good last year, and at the end we kind of fell off a little bit, but we're expecting huge things from Amari this year. He's doing great, he's coming into his own, and I think he's definitely going to put himself among the best of the best by the end of this season."
He said the team will evaluate all the talent at the defensive lineman and linebacker positions.
"We're going to take a strong look at what we already have, especially these two young drafted guys we brought in, and a couple of these other young guys we brought in. We're going to see what we have there… As far as the middle linebacker situation, we're always going to kick tires, and search the other teams and waivers, but right now we want to see what our young guys look like."
McKenzie expressed his excitement regarding the team's 2017 slate of opponents.
"I want to take them all down. It would be nice to dominate the division for one, but you're exactly right, we have a much harder schedule outside the division this year. As far as the wins and loss, what these teams are going to bring to us, but I'm excited to play against all these teams, both in the AFC and the NFC."
*Head Coach Jack Del Rio was unable to participate in Tuesday's call because of a scheduling conflict, but he'll be hold his own call next week.