Former Cal QB Aaron Rodgers is the most prominent of the Packers' draft choices. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
There’s been no secret formula for the success of the Green Bay Packers.
The defending Super Bowl champions – favored to repeat -- simply evaluate talent far better than most teams around the league and execute under a solid coaching staff and front office. They’ve built through the draft, plucked good, undrafted free agents and coached the players into their system.
Nineteen of the starters on the Pack’s Super Bowl team last season were taken in the draft or signed as undrafted free agents, and only nine of the 65 players on last season’s roster were drafted by another team.
Clearly, the Packers know what they’re doing.
So it’s also clear to see why former Raiders linebacker Reggie McKenzie, Green Bay’s director of football operations, appears to be a top candidate to be the Oakland Raiders’ new general manager.
McKenzie was reported by several news outlets to have interviewed with the Raiders Wednesday. The team would not confirm those reports, wrote Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.
McKenzie, who played for the Los Angeles Raiders from 1985-88, cannot be hired until the Packers are out of the playoffs. In addition, noted McDonald, teams such as the Bears and Colts have GM vacancies, and may be interested in McKenzie.
But McKenzie’s rich experience in evaluating talent after 19 years in the Packers’ personnel department gives him exemplary credentials for the Raiders position.
“Reggie’s a tremendous evaluator,” former Packers GM Ron Wolf told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He can tell you who can play and who can’t play. That’s what it’s all about. Some can write reports but can’t tell you who can play. Whatever that is, he has that. He has a feel.”
McDonald wrote that a recent NFL Network report said the Raiders appeared to be interested in bringing in a tandem from the Packers, with McKenzie and Eliot Wolf, the team’s assistant director of player personnel and Ron Wolf’s son.
McDonald quoted a former Packers executive as saying Eliot Wolf is a “rising star” with a philosophy rooted, McDonald wrote, in “developing young talent.”
Since the death of owner Al Davis, who handled personnel decisions, head coach Hue Jackson has been in charge of personnel. But this offseason, the Raiders will be setting in place a management team that could take those duties off his hands.
Jackson has said he wants to continue to have input into roster decisions and be a part of the decision-making process in the GM search, but told Sirius NFL Radio this week, reported McDonald, that, “If the chain of command starts with the GM, when it comes to those decisions, I’m fine with that, too.”
Earlier this week, Jackson had said, “I would hope that the organization understands that I have a pretty good idea of where we need to go. Because if not, then I shouldn’t be where I’m sitting.”