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Tom Telesco dives into the Raiders' draft state of mind

With three days until the draft kicks off, nothing is set in stone for the Las Vegas Raiders. An array of possibilities are still on the table.

General Manager Tom Telesco told local media Monday there's a plan in place for every possible scenario – whether they trade up, trade back or stay put at No. 13. Which route they decide to take is still up in the air, and it could stay that way up until the start of the draft and how they see selections play out.

Telesco touched on working with Head Coach Antonio Pierce throughout the draft process, referring to the "vision of what he wants in the football team." He believes Pierce previously working as a college coach at Arizona State has been a huge help due to experience recruiting a lot of the prospects available in the draft.

Telesco was also clear that the decisions involved in building this draft class will be much more complex than taking a player either for position need or him being the best player available on the clock. He sees each draft pick as a longterm investment to fit within the landscape of the team and the city of Las Vegas.

"We're drafting them for the future, and that's what we're hoping to get out of them," Telesco said. "It's not so much where they fit in initially as a rookie the first year. I mean, history shows, probably less than a third of rookies, maybe even 30 percent of rookies, actually play a high number a significant amount of snaps their rookie years or filling a need. That's reality. Whatever needs we may have today, or whatever perceived needs those are, these players were drafting, we're looking down the road minimum I'd say four to five years.

"These players are coming in and representing the Raiders, representing Las Vegas and representing fans of the Raiders all over the world. ... If you're going to be a part of us, you have got to fit us."

With over 30 years of experience working within the NFL, this process is nothing new for Telesco. But what's most important is having a staff he trusts and relies around him to aid in making the best decisions for the roster, including assistant general manger Champ Kelly and senior director of player personnel JoJo Wooden.

Kelly is entering his third season with the Raiders after acting as interim general manger in 2023, while Telesco has been paired with Wooden for over 10 years dating back to the Chargers. Previously at the NFL Combine, Telesco said he believes both men are skilled enough to become NFL general managers in the near future but for now, finds himself fortunate to have their minds on his side. Along with Kelly and Wooden, he's been in awe of the staff he's inherited.

"We've got really good staff of college scouts," Telesco said. "These guys are really well taught, they're organized, they're detailed. I've been very lucky to walk into this, to have stuff like this, and then obviously the coaches are a big part of the process too. They're almost like a cross check. They'll help determine scheme fit. So try and take the coaches, take the scouts, obviously the head coach is a big part of that, kind of tie it all together, add in some data analytics and blend it all together and make a decision.

"I think if you prepare well enough, it shouldn't be stressful. ... I feel really good about it. I feel good about the group. We've prepared a lot, and we will kind of let it ride Thursday, Friday and Saturday."

The Las Vegas Raiders and UNLV partnered together to host students from three local middle schools for a R.U.S.H. event focusing on the fundamentals of flag football, nutrition, and the importance of exercise, movement and mental health.

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