The first day of the NFL Draft wasn’t the most exciting for Oakland Raiders fans. When high end defenders like Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James and Vita Vea available at number 10, the Raiders traded back. That itself wasn’t a disappointment, but then, when the Raiders had their pick come up at 15 they drafted offensive tackle Kolton Miller, a late first round to early second round talent, when Derwin James and many other higher caliber prospects were still available.
It was the first clear sign that Gruden and McKenzie are not always on the same page. It was also the first clear sign that when that happens, Gruden will get the final say. It was also clear that in this instance, Gruden having the final say was a bad thing.
When the Raiders were on the clock at 15, Vic Tafur reported that there was a disagreement in the war room over whether the team should draft Kolton Miller or Derwin James. This isn’t all that surprising considering the fact that earlier in the day, Tafur reported that the Raiders have two different draft boards, presumably one being Gruden’s and one being McKenzie’s.
And when the pick was made, Tafur also indirectly confirmed that it was Gruden’s board that had Kolton Miller as the pick and McKenzie’s board that had Derwin James as the pick when he confirmed what we had already been hearing, that Miller was Tom Cable’s guy.
And as we already knew, Tom Cable is Jon Gruden’s guy. When Cable was let go by the Seahawks, Gruden hired him almost immediately and has praised him highly.
So any remaining questions about who has the final say over the roster, McKenzie or Gruden, have been answered in favor of Chucky. It’s not a huge sample size, but the first taste of Jon Gruden having the final say over personnel decisions sure wasn’t a very good one.