INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Mayock might be wearing a Raiders shield on his chest, but he sure hasn’t lost any of the ability that made his press conferences a must-attend event.
Mayock held court Tuesday in the Indianapolis Convention Center, as he has annually for years as one of the most respected voices in the football scouting community, and provided plenty of excellent quotes and insight as always. But his most coveted knowledge is confidential these days, as Mayock is no longer here to share his research with the rest of the world, but use it to make the Las Vegas Raiders into a winner.
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First order of business in this upcoming draft: Address the receiver position.
"We’re a pretty good offensive team, and I think everybody standing here knows we need help at wideout," Mayock said. "We need to be better. The Antonio Brown thing left a void that we weren’t really able to fill. So we need to get better there."
While most coaches and general managers keep their responses as vague as realistically possible, Mayock wasn’t afraid to admit his pass-catching corps needs an upgrade. His defense does, too, he said.
"We have so many needs over there, it’s just ‘who’s a dynamic football player who makes us better?’" Mayock said.
As for any rumors of a potential reunion with one formerly notable receiver, Mayock said that ship has sailed.
"Antonio Brown, I have very little to comment about," Mayock said. "I think he had his time with the Raiders, and I think his time there is up."
Receiver isn’t the only position that might be addressed by Mayock’s Raiders. The second question Mayock fielded Tuesday was about the state of quarterback for the franchise.
His answer: Las Vegas likes what Derek Carr did in 2019, but no position is above being evaluated.
"I’m surprised it took two questions to get to Derek, but thank you," Mayock said. "The bottom line is this: I think everybody needs to understand at what level Derek Carr played last year. The guy completed 70 percent of his passes, he had almost a 3-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, I think we’re No. 11 in the league in total yards, we were seventh in third down conversions. We did a lot of really good things on offense last year.
"The disconnect was we didn’t score a lot of points. You’re 11 in yards and 24 in points, there’s an issue. It’s defense, it’s special teams, it’s not scoring in the red zone and it’s not scoring in goal-to-go. To me, those are the issues. Derek Carr played at a high level. I’m very happy with Derek Carr.
"What I’ve told everybody I’ve been in touch with since the day I took this job is we’ll evaluate every position every year. And if we can get better, we will. Guys get tired of me saying that but that’s really what I told Mark Davis when I took this job, and that’s my mantra."
Mayock will attempt to address those needs in free agency and the draft, and he’ll expect his stellar rookie class from 2019 to take the next step, not get complacent with their success in their first season. If all goes according to plan, he’ll fill the voids elsewhere and continue the Raiders on their path back to relevancy at the start of a new era in Nevada — even if he runs this draft, as he said Tuesday he likely would, from the Raiders’ existing headquarters in Alameda.
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