Once regarded for his ability to analyze prospective draft picks on the small screen, Raiders general manager delivered a critique upon the big picture that was his first season with the Silver and Black.
“Opportunities lost,” Mayock said via the team website. “I mean, we’re six and four. We lost five of our last six. I think what it did was illuminate to me that we, our depth has to get better. We got beat up a little bit. And in the NFL, everybody gets beat up. I’ve got to do a better job of, of helping Jon [Gruden] have enough depth to get through a season at a high level.”
Though they needed an abundance of help, the Raiders were alive for a playoff spot in Week 17.
But that was a very slim silver lining for the Silver and Black, which finished its last season in Oakland with a loss on the road to the Broncos to finish the year at 7-9. With the Titans winning — and continuing to win as they roll into Sunday — the stumble in the last week wouldn’t have mattered as it related to the Raiders‘ minimal postseason hopes. Still, the 16-15 defeat was more evidence to Mayock’s position of opportunities lost.
One particular strong suit was the Raiders‘ 2019 draft class — it’s first with Mayock.
It began with a trio of first-round picks in defensive end Clelin Ferrell, running back Josh Jacobs and safety Johnathan Abram. Ferrell disappointed a bit, Abram was lost to injury, but Jacobs is an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year contender. And the rest of the draft was strong, with defensive end Maxx Crosby (fourth round) emerging as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (fifth) turning in a terrific first campaign and cornerback Trayvon Mullen (second) emerging as a starter.
“I really think in my mind, we wanna build off the success we had,” Mayock said. “We wanna add to that foundation with more quality, with young players in our rookie class this year. You know, we talk a lot about foundations both on and off the field. We wanna bring great people into our building both in free agency and the draft. We wanna have better depth than we had last year and, and we wanna finish. And I think that’s and important to word to me, wanna finish every practice, every game and ultimately the season in the correct fashion.”
At it relates to forming the franchise going forward, there are other avenues up for pondering.
Mayock believes adding outside options for Carr is what’s needed more than anything. After all, the Antonio Brown experiment ended disastrously before the season even began. The Raiders‘ other big free agent at wide receiver was Tyrell Williams. Williams looked good at times, but was ultimately plagued by injuries. Nonetheless, Mayock believes Carr’s play was a plus.
“As far as Derek is concerned, look, it, Jon demands a lot from his quarterbacks,” Mayock said. “People don’t understand how much. Just from a verbiage standpoint all the way to control, pre-snap at the line of scrimmage, you know, his percentage of completions, his ability to command the huddle, his ability to command the pre-snap process at the line of scrimmage, his accuracy. He’s got arm talent. You look at his development between him and Darren Waller, you know, Darren Waller had 90 catches for over 1,000 yards. Darren Waller is a Pro Bowl tight end by any definition. And then the chemistry he developed with Hunter Renfrow. I think we’ve got a good offensive line and what we have to do is a better job of supporting him with some more wide receiver talent, the ability to catch the football, uh, the ability to spread the ball around a little bit. You know, Derek handled everything Jon threw at him mentally. I thought he progressed at a rapid rate in year two in Jon’s system.”
The second year for Mayock in Gruden’s system isn’t all that far away, now.
Looking back, perhaps there were some lost opportunities, but there was also a promising foundation laid and plenty to learn from.
“It was really a learning process,” Mayock said. “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.”