New Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie (left) now has five picks in the draft to add to the roster that will be coached by Dennis Allen (right).
After another disappointing season, a wholesale reshuffling of the roster and the exit of some impact players in free agency, the Raiders are eager to acquire some new talent.
But with just two draft choices in April’s annual NFL selection process, the Raiders were just a hungry guy standing outside the all-you-can-eat restaurant, ogling all the food but without enough money to get in.
So many players, so few picks.
On Monday, however, Oakland was awarded three compensatory draft choices, giving new General Manager Reggie McKenzie a chance to dine with the rest of the league.
Along with the fifth- and sixth-round selections the team already had, the Raiders were awarded a third-round pick (No. 95 overall), fourth-round pick (No. 129) and fifth-round pick (No. 168).
The compensatory picks were awarded because the team last season lost cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, tight end Zach Miller and guard Robert Gallery in free agency, reports Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. The compensatory picks come at the end of each round of the draft.
McKenzie told McDonald he could still trade players for more picks between now and April’s draft.
“That could be possible,” McKenzie told McDonald. “I never close the door on trades.”
He was ecstatic Monday that the NFL awarded the Raiders three picks. He wasn’t expecting that many.
“Whatever the formula is, I love it,” McKenzie said via conference call with McDonald and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vittorio Tafur. “I thought I would get a (third), a high one for Nnamdi, but this is better than expected.”
McKenzie last week noted his team’s biggest need is at outside linebacker. On Monday, he said potential starters can be found all the way down into the fifth round of the draft.
The Raiders find themselves with few picks this season because of recent trades that have netted quarterback Carson Palmer, running back Taiwan Jones, tackle Joe Barksdale, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, quarterback Jason Campbell and linebacker Aaron Curry.
McKenzie has been busy this offseason getting the Raiders under the salary cap by releasing some high-salaried players and getting others to restructure their deals. He said Monday that he’s “learning on the fly through adverse situations” but believes he’s making progress.
As he looks ahead to the draft now – with more selections at his disposal – he’s eager to continue the makeover process.
“It’s my show now and it’s going to be fun,” he told McDonald and Tafur.