When the Raiders hired Mike Mayock as general manager in late December, there were skeptics.
After all, Mayock had been a draft analyst for NFL.com, but had never worked in an NFL front office. Even Mayock said he needed a little time to morph into his new role after being in the media.
“For the last 15 years, I think I’ve tried to be the GM for all 32 teams,” he told a reporter at the time. “I’ve been in all 32 buildings for the last 15 years. I know what it looks like, I know what it smells like. I just need a little help with the mechanics.”
Now, almost 11 months later, Mayock is a key component of what has become a surprisingly successful season for the Raiders, who are 6-4 and a half-game behind the 7-4 Chiefs for the lead in the AFC West.
Working in tandem with head coach Jon Gruden, Mayock has brought in free agents such as wide receiver Tyrell Williams, right tackle Trent Brown, left guard Richie Incognito and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and has drafted perhaps the NFL’s best rookie class, including running back Josh Jacobs, defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
With a fresh influx of talent up and down the roster – aided by plenty of room under the salary cap and extra draft picks from the trades of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper -- the Raiders have made rapid progress from a 4-12 season to playoff contention.
As one writer noted this week, Mayock is a solid candidate for NFL Executive of the Year.
Wrote Nicholas Cothrel of Fansided: “People around the NFL knew Mayock was a brilliant football mind, but many figured it would take some time to adjust into his new role. Mayock wasted no time and is now considered a potential candidate (for the award).”
Mayock’s Raiders will travel to the East Coast later this week to try to improve to 7-4, with a Sunday date against the 3-7 New York Jets. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. (Bay Area time).