Q: Reggie, you said at Stanford, you didn't really understand the formula or what picks you were going to wind up getting, but was this kind of what you expected, or did you really not have any idea?
McKenzie: Let me tell you something, whatever the formula is, I love this formula. I love it. I thought I would possibly get a three, a high one for Nnamdi [Asomugha], and the others, obviously this was better then what I expected so I'm extremely excited about the compensatory picks that the league has afforded the Raiders. Hopefully we can make do and have some good picks from it.
Q: Is a number three pick, in your eyes, always a potential starter?
McKenzie: Yes, the number three pick, the number four pick, yeah. Honestly guys, when you set the board you try to set it to where you can have some possible starters through the fifth round and then if you get lucky with a college free agent seventh round. I have been fortunate to have some good fortune with later picks in my 18-year career and I'm not going to just limit it just to the third round, 'okay you got a third so you have one opportunity to get a starter.' I don't want to go into this draft like that. I want to get some good players that we can try to get as many possible starters as possible. Whether they are first year starters, second year or third year starters, I want to get some guys that have the potential to be starters. So don't tie me down to just the third round.
Q: Coming into the off-season, you knowing that you were going to get some (compensatory) picks, did that in any way change your approach to free agency?
McKenzie: No it didn't, it really did not. I am trying to build a team, so the more the merrier. If I see a possible free agent that we fell like, man, we can do this and this deal looks pretty good, I am going to do it in free agency, regardless of what we have in the draft. But that is not going to minimize what I do in the draft even if I sign an unrestricted free agent offensive lineman. That's not going to say I am not going to draft one. I don't look at it like that. I am still looking for great backups that can become starters at every position. So I need a lot more picks than what I have now and some more free agent moves. The only thing I wish I had more of right now is NFL money and NFL cap. So that is what I wish I had more of.
Q: Reggie, what do you do from here going forward in regards to clearing some more space going forward to add pieces to your puzzle?
McKenzie: Well not a whole lot this year, and I think the bulk of it has been done and that is just, you try to wait it out and see what the best fit is for these 53 guys in the long run to make this and then try to figure out. At this point it is production and talent. It is not about money, money, money, as far as the comings and goings of players…well the going mainly.
Q: Reggie, do you think this is the amount of picks you'll go into this draft with or are you still possibly looking to trade an existing player to get even more pick/picks?
McKenzie: That could be possible. I never close the door on trades. I really don't. That door is always open. So to answer your question, yes, that could be a possibility.
Q: Overall, how deep do you think this draft is and is it the sort of draft where the end of the third round could still land you a talented player?
McKenzie: Yeah, I think there are very good players in the middle rounds so from a standpoint of depth, I think it's there. I don't know as far as certain positions in the first two rounds, it may not be as deep at certain spots, but for the most part, there are some good players throughout the draft.
Q: Throughout your years at Green Bay, how many years did you spend doing college personnel like you're doing now and evaluating for the draft and how many years were you in pro personnel, free agency and that sort of thing? Or did you do both sometimes?
McKenzie: I did both a lot of times. My first year there, I began in pro personnel, so that was the brunt of my work. But, when the scouting meetings started, I was heavily involved, so bringing guys in for visits, and from watching film in the meetings with coaches and even putting the board together. So I was a part of that process early. I probably didn't get started doing college scouting as far as going on the road and being a part of the pre-draft of the pre-combine scouting meetings until maybe about seven years. The last 10-12 years, I was a part of that. That's 12 years exactly, so that's a little different. In saying that, I've always been involved in both. Always oversaw all the pro from a free agent standpoint and just the evaluation of my own team, which I think is highly important. It's been a process now. I've done this for quite some time. But this is my show now, so it's going to be fun.
Q: You stepped into a new role this year and everybody likes to make a good first impression. Has it been frustrating for you that you've spent most of your time lately dealing with Raiders cap limitations as opposed to being able to go out and get the free agents you wanted to get?
McKenzie: It's not frustrating, it really isn't. You always like to have a comfort level. To me, having cap, having cash, it gives you a comfort. So it's teaching me how to manage money, so to speak, so this is good for me. Learning on the fly how to deal with adverse situations and I think we initially we're able to handle it so far. Hopefully, what I don't want to do is allow this to get us in the end, but I always want to be in position that if we need to add a quality player and we feel that it works out financially cap-wise, then shoot, I want to be in a position to make a move. And that's my whole outlook. When we had to make certain cuts, we do it with a future plan that we had. So far it's working accordingly.
Q: Are you still looking to add Pat Lee?
Q: When you were at the Stanford Pro Day, you were asked about what your priorities were at the moment and you said that linebackers, starting linebacker, was your priority. Were you speaking more in terms of free agency or were you thinking that was your priority when the draft comes around?
McKenzie: Let me tell you something, I would take it any way I can get it. If I can get it in free agency…the thing about it, in free agency, it has to work out contractually. But if it doesn't work out, I'm not tying my hands down to either/or. But still, regardless, I'm going to use the draft to make sure we draft the best available player. If it's a position that we're strong at, so be it. If we feel like this is the best guy, it's a difference between adding solid starters and difference makers. If I have a chance to get a difference maker, we're going to get him. So whether it's a draft, it's hard to find difference makers if you don't have money, but if we have potential to get some solid starters in free agency still, I'm going to do it.
Q: The moves you've made thus far, in terms of the releases you've made, you've talked about production, are those more about production or lack of or was it about the cap situation?
McKenzie: A little bit of both. When you talk about production versus a salary, in this business, once you get into the NFL, let's face it guys, contract and production and all of that goes hand in hand. If something is not matching, is kind of out of whack, you're going to have to be forced to make a decision. That's what I was coming up to. It was not all just either/or. The production is not there, but the guy is making the minimum, then so be it. You can use this guy as a backup because of the contract. When the thing doesn't work out, contractually and production, you're going to be forced to evaluate. That's after every season. We're all up against that – have to be evaluated. So that's where I made my decisions. It wasn't, 'you're costing too much money, you've got to go.' No. If the guy was highly productive and we can make it work, we try to make it work financially. If not, we have to make certain decisions and some tough decisions, which we did.
Q: As you try to build this thing with the moves you have to make because of what you're talking about, do you envision this team being stronger this year or do you envision it to take two or three years to get your plan in place?
McKenzie: Honestly, I envision it being stronger.
Q: You elected to let Kevin Boss go…could you be comfortable with the three tight ends you have now or are you pretty sure you're going to be adding somebody else?
McKenzie: I'm comfortable with it, but yes, I want to continue to add. I'm not just going to, at any positions really, just say, 'okay, I'm good there, I'm not going to add a guy.' I would like to add another guy there to compete, yes.
Q: As far as linebackers go, is this a good draft for linebackers compared to years past? Is it a deep draft?
McKenzie: There are some good linebackers. Is it deep? I wouldn't say that. But there are some good linebackers in this draft.
Q: How much does Peyton Manning being in Denver change the dynamics of that division? And is it to the extent where even in your personnel evaluations and decision making you might have an eye for that?
McKenzie: The one thing I can say is I have a great admiration for Peyton. Now, do we have to put in a different game plan for defending Peyton, rather than Tebow? Absolutely. Face it, this guy in the division, if he's healthy and hitting on all cylinders physically, he's going to be a good football player in our division. We're going to have to find ways to slow him down. The coaching staff, that's going to be a challenge. Players that you add, do we have to make sure as far as cornerbacks, are they going to have to be on their "P's" and "Q's" on how they cover guys and timing and all of that, absolutely. But are we going to be scared of him? Absolutely not.