ALAMEDA – Mike Mayock started preparing for the NFL draft months ago. That was a job requirement as NFL Network's preeminent draft analyst. That prep will allow him to hit the ground running with his new gig as Raiders general manager.
Owner Mark Davis formally announced the hire in a Monday afternoon press conference, which offered a 26-minute respite from a workday that started earlier that morning.
Mayock and head coach/football czar Jon Gruden are tireless workers with a friendship more than 20 years old, one based on debating player evaluations.
That will continue through the offseason as the Raiders reconstruct a talent-deficient roster. Gruden and Mayock have the tools required to make major upgrades, with more than $70 million in salary cap space and 11 NFL draft picks, including four in the top 35.
That's why it's imperative that Mayock make a seamless transition to his first job in an NFL front office.
"It's critical that we hit the ground running," Mayock said. "The good news for me is that I'm already ahead on the college side. I've spent an awful lot of time breaking those players down. I feel pretty good about where I am (in terms of draft prep). I know Jon's going to push me really hard."
Mayock's well-versed on the 2019 NFL draft class, but he will have to play catch-up in other areas.
"Job No. 1 for me is to get on the same page with the coaching staff about the current Raiders roster," Mayock said. "I have watched the last eight game tapes just trying to be prepared for my interview and working with the Raiders. I have half the season done, and the rest will get done soon.
"I'll be sitting down with every position coach. The most important thing is that we come out with a unified game plan when it's time to go after free agents. We know what kind of money there is, and that there are a lot of mistakes made in free agency. We're going to go at it in a pragmatic and practiced approach."
Mayock won't just be working to identify talent, he has to find proper scheme fits and players that members of Gruden's staff can develop into quality professionals.
He understands his role in this Raiders hierarchy that his job is to give coaches the best possible version of the player they want. Mayock knows Gurden's scheme well. He already understands what defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is looking for.
Mayock plans to meet with coaches to discuss their preferences. That's why he pulled offensive line coach Tom Cable aside Monday morning, to start understanding what he looks for along the offensive front. He plans to watch film with Cable and really study the characteristics of linemen who best fit this scheme.
"I plan to do that will all the coaches," Mayock said. "The way I look at it, we're here to support the coaches. We need to do a great job of understanding what they want, and then we're going to go get it for them."
Mayock will go get those players working primarily working with previous GM Reggie McKenzie's staff. The Raiders aren't going to overhaul the scouting department right away, and those already on staff well help Mayock and Gruden work though the 2019 NFL draft.
Director of college scouting Shaun Herock, previously the acting GM following McKenzie's departure, will have a major orchestrating the pre-draft process.
Gruden doesn't foresee any radical changes to the scouting department, and will give Mayock a few months to evaluate those on staff and make changes as he sees fit.
"Anybody on the coaching side or personnel side who has wanted to work in this industry always has a ready list," Mayock said. "I have that. I have a lot of guys I respect, but the most important thing is to respect the guys who are here first. We have four months to get after it with the guys in this building. We going to do that, and then at that point, we can evaluate."