ALAMEDA – Mike Mayock is in the middle of his deep dive into the current Raiders roster. The new Silver and Black general manager has combed tape from half the 2018 season, with another half to go before he's complete.
He's going to break down each player and position group so he can provide input into the Raiders offseason plan.
The most important evaluation is always the quarterback. Derek Carr is the unquestioned face of the franchise, with four seasons left on a $125 million contract extension signed in 2017.
Carr just wrapped a season where he exceeded 4,000 passing yards, threw 322 straight passes without an interception and was sacked a career-high 51 times while cycling through receivers and offensive linemen.
Mayock was about his impressions of Carr, and initially took a pass.
"That's really part of my study right now," he said Monday in his introductory press conference. "Bottom line, it's easy to pick names right now, but I'm not going to make a comment on anybody on the current roster until I've done a complete deep dive and I've had a chance to meet with all of the coaches."
The former NFL Network draft analyst expanded on Carr a bit in a subsequent interview with his old employer, suggesting Carr needed more help to provide game tape worthy of complete evaluation.
"He can spin it with anybody," Mayock said. "That's the key. From arm strength to athletic ability, he's as good as anybody out there. Now, do you have to protect him? Do you have to get some weapons to fairly evaluate the quarterback position? I think you do."
That jives with what Gruden has been saying about Carr this season, while signing his praises as Raiders offensive orchestrator.
Mayock's opinion of Carr will carry weight, but Gruden will have the final say on all football matters. That's especially true of the quarterback, a player Gruden takes the most ownership in developing.
While Carr is expected to return in 2019, nothing can be ruled out with Gruden at the helm. That includes a trade this year or after future seasons, as Carr's contract looks more and more affordable.
At this time Gruden seems set on improving players around him, especially at the skill positions. That could change if the Raiders receive an offer they can't refuse.
Mayock was high on Carr coming out of the 2014 NFL draft, rating him the No. 20 overall prospect in that class.
"He is more athletic than people think," Mayock said back in 2014. "A lot of teams thought he was the best pure thrower in draft. I love the way this kid throws the football."
He had the Raiders trading up to get him with the No. 28 overall pick after making a deal with Carolina. Carr ended up falling to the Raiders at No. 36, was declared the starter right away and has held on to that position ever since.