While the Las Vegas Raiders’ final season in Oakland left a lot to be desired, there is no denying the excitement surrounding the team moving forward. Their record improved from the year before and there are a number of standout young players on the roster long-term.
The improvements have come just one year after Mike Mayock was hired to be the team’s new general manager.
Mayock emerged as a draft expert throughout his broadcasting career. Although having draft expertise is important for a general manager, there was much more that Mayock was unfamiliar with. Mayock stated that one of the more difficult parts of his first year was the NFL free agency process, via Raiders.com:
Well, you know, I’ve spent the last 18 or 19 years working with a lot of the GMs and head coaches around the league, so I had a pretty good feel for the draft process and was pretty comfortable with that. I think the pro free agency was a little different for me. You know, we came in, I came in on January 1st and free agency starts two and a half months later. We had a lot of work to do. So, that was a, a major challenge. I think assembling a staff was a major challenge, one which I’m very proud of right now.
Of course, that did not work out as anyone would have hoped, but a new No. 1 emerged in tight end Darren Waller. Although the team could rely on Waller, there were still many other areas that needed to be improved.
As a number of wide receivers were cut before the start of the regular season, the Raiders clearly needed some help. For Mayock, filling his roster with head coach Jon Gruden was one of the biggest challenges and an area that he felt he learned a lot in:
And I think just the first regular season. You know, the, the challenge of every week sitting down with Jon and figuring out do we need to sign somebody? Are we okay on practice squad? What’s the 53 look like? What’s the 46 look like? To me, they were – it was really a learning process. It was exhilarating and, you know, I had, I had a lot to learn and I’m really appreciative of the fact that I get a year under my belt now and hopefully I can do a better job next year.
Hopefully, Mayock will not have to be scouting for new players each week as he did in 2019 when the Raiders were destroyed by injuries. The Raiders have enough young talent that with some key offseason additions, 2020 should be a much better year as the team moves to Las Vegas.
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