Photo by Tony Gonzales
The 2015 NFL Draft is less than a week away and Friday afternoon General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio addressed the media in the Raiders annual pre-draft press conference.
Without giving away their strategy and thought-process heading into the first round, McKenzie and Coach Del Rio expressed their desire to continue to upgrade the Raiders through the draft, as well as after.
The Silver and Black hold the fourth overall pick. Who will McKenzie and his staff select? Will they trade down? What's their plan?
We won't know until next Thursday, but for now, here's what we do know…
-The Draft is a Team Effort
Leading up to Thursday, the preparation for the 2015 NFL Draft has been a collaborative process between General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio.
The two appear to have a good working relationship, and are looking forward to the Draft getting underway.
"Reggie has been great about being inclusive and watching the process," said Coach Del Rio. "The coaching evaluation is one aspect of it. Our guys have worked very hard and their input has been taken into consideration, along with all the works that the scouts do year-round in terms of gathering background information and getting a feel for the players. So it's just one piece of the big process of going through these guys and evaluating them."
-No Stone Will Go Unturned
There has been a lot of speculation about what the Raiders will do with the fourth overall pick in next week's draft, but one thing is certain – McKenzie, Coach Del Rio and the Raiders staff are prepared for whatever situations arise on Draft Day.
"We're being very thorough going through the board," Del Rio said. "Looking at all the different positions and looking how they would impact us and how they fit and how we rank them, just how they are as players. So that's all part of it. We'll go through that and certainly, sitting at number four, you know you're looking at some of the very best players. I mean, when you're sitting at the top, you've got a chance to make sure you acquire a real good football player."
-It's All About Improvement
While McKenzie and Del Rio weren't willing to delve too deep into their draft strategy, both men were quick to say that their sole focus was to improve the Raiders roster, both through the draft and free agency.
"We felt like we improved our football team and that's what we were wanting to do – upgrade this football team through free agency and the draft," McKenzie said. "We will do it post-free agency and post-draft. We've been trying to upgrade our team throughout and we will continue to do that."
-The Draft is Now Must-See TV
Both Del Rio and McKenzie spent time in the NFL as players, and since their time strapping on the pads, they have seen the NFL, and the Draft in particular, become a national spectacle.
"For me, it has become unreal," McKenzie said. "This thing is huge. For the NFL to take this to Chicago, this is the biggest event for the draft. It's huge. I can't even imagine being a player now. It's night and day from when we came out."
Coach Del Rio agreed with his general manager.
"It's unbelievable," Coach Del Rio said. "It's an event. The combine has become an event. That kind of begins the process of leading up to who's going to get drafted where. It's a great story. Clearly, the public eats it up and loves it and is very interested in knowing exactly what we're going to do and trying to predict what we might do. It makes for good theater."