General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio
Less than a week before the 81st annual NFL Draft kicks off in Chicago, General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio held their 2016 Pre-Draft Press Conference at the team's Alameda, Calif., facility.
While neither of the two was willing to share too much of their plan heading into Draft weekend, they did touch on a variety of topics including their working relationship, as well as the health of defensive end Mario Edwards Jr.
There is a difference between picking in the top five and picking in the middle of the first round.
Reggie McKenzie:"It's a little different. [You're] preferably picking 32nd, but you know, the lower you pick as far as down the line, it's harder to figure out what the other teams are going to do. This is different than picking top five."
**For Head Coach Del Rio, working with Reggie McKenzie is a collaborative effort.
Jack Del Rio:"Rather than compare and contrast, I think, what I would just say is I appreciate the collaborative effort. We talked from day one about having a unified front and making sure that we value all the input that we get from coaches and scouts, and all the work that goes into preparing for the draft day. I think that I'll continue to feel really good about how we work at it, the work that goes in, and the dedication of the guys that help gather all this information. Tremendous amount of information that we pour through and makes, I think, for a good process, and one where you can be effective."
The pair provided an update on the health of defensive end Mario Edwards.
JDR:"Nothing's really changed from what we've talked about previously."
RM:"He's doing everything. He's in with the guys. He's here."
Even picking at No. 14, it's still vital to make a quality selection.**
RM:"Honestly, I think there's more pressure. That's my approach. I really do. You guys write about how good Khalil [Mack] and Amari [Cooper] and Derek [Carr] and all these guys are – how can that not put pressure on me? We have to continue to get really good players in here, so we're looking forward to building on that."
Heading into 2016, the goal remains the same.
RM:"We want to get to the playoffs, then, that's when the season starts. We want to try to bring home the trophy after that; but it starts with the work. This whole offseason, we have to work."
The Raiders' secondary is much more solidified than it was at the end of the season.
JDR:"We accomplished a great deal, and like I said, we'll continue to create a very competitive environment and look to be a really strong football team. A part of that is having good, healthy competition, and we definitely brought in some guys that will provide that."
McKenzie spoke about the decision to re-sign suspended linebacker Aldon Smith.
RM:"It's like we told Aldon when we signed him, we want the best for him as a person.
He's in his process, and we have to take a step back and the NFL, the league office, has certain procedures, what we can and can't do, but he left here in great spirits, probably the best that we've seen. We're hoping for the best, for him. If we get him, that'd be great if the league so decides to do something, but we feel good about our decision to give him an opportunity."