When the Oakland Raiders selected Clelin Ferrell with the number four overall pick, they shocked everyone on television at home. Most saw Ferrell as a mid to late first round talent, so immediately, the “reach” terminology started being used and immediately, people started blaming Jon Gruden.
But contrary to popular belief, the Clelin Ferrell pick smells a lot more like Mike Mayock than Jon Gruden to me.
The idea of reaching for a player absolutely sounds like Jon Gruden. The Gruden we have known can be impulsive when it comes to player acquisitions (See: Martavis Bryant trade). But the kind of player he gets excited over tends to be on offense, not defense.
Now had the Raiders selected Josh Jacobs, another guy projected for mid to late first round, I absolutely would have believed it was Gruden.
Plus, if Gruden was going to reach on defense, I believe he’d reach for a physical freak like Rashan Gary rather than a guy like Ferrell who is more of an all around solid player and person than an elite athlete.
Despite the fact that many believe the Raiders selected him too early, Ferrell feels like a very safe pick. If he isn’t great in the NFL, he shouldn’t be much worse than solid. And that kind of player doesn’t scream Jon Gruden.
And the Ferrell pick isn’t the only way Mike Mayock left his mark on this draft.
First, the trade backs felt very Mayock rather than Gruden. Again, I believe the impulsive Gruden is more of a trade up or trade picks for players kind of guy. This year, we saw patience, trading back and collecting picks while still landing the player that the Raiders wanted.
That feels like the result of the calming presence of Mike Mayock rather than a sudden change in how Gruden operates.
And then there was the overall theme of this year’s draft class: Good character guys with high floors and either an ability to contribute right away or a very high ceiling making the potential for a mid to late round steal.
Pretty much every pick outside of their seventh-round selection felt very safe. It feels like most if not all of these guys will make the roster and many of them (likely more than not) will contribute in year one.
That feels contrary to the boom or bust picks the Raiders selected in last year’s draft when Gruden didn’t have Mayock there to reign him in.
While the Raiders may not have made any “sexy” picks, they had a clear plan of action heading into the draft and they executed it better than I’ve seen a Raiders draft executed in a long time. It felt organized, thought out and in control. All of which felt very different than most Raiders drafts in my lifetime.
And I firmly believe we have Mike Mayock to thank for that.
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