GM Mike Mayock ‘excited and energized’ about state of Raiders OL heading into the draft

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Levi Damien
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We are exactly one week until the start of the 2021 draft. Each team has added all the presumed impact free agents they’re going to add and their needs are set. For that Raiders, a couple of their needs fall on the offensive line.

The needs jumped up when the team traded away three of their five starters, with a fourth (Richie Incognito) approaching 38 years of age. So, yeah, there’s no denying the offensive line is, at very least, a question mark.

So, of course, Mike Mayock today kinda went about trying to deny the Raiders offensive line was in dire need of help.

“You know it’s funny because the public perception is ‘Aw, the Raiders, they made a bunch of moves on the offensive line therefore they’re gonna be worse there’. I’m kind of energized by it, to be really honest with you,” Mayock said over video conference call. “We redid our left tackle’s contract, Kolton Miller, and that showed our locker room that we were willing to be really aggressive in signing one of our own, and somebody we believe is a cornerstone.

“And then people are like ‘yeah, but you traded away one of the best centers in football’ and we did, but you can’t make that move unless you think you’ve got somebody right behind him that can come in and compete. So, we look at an Andre James and a Nick Martin and say, look, we feel like we can compete at center.

“We’re getting younger. I’m excited and energized by what our offensive line group is starting to look like. And I’m excited and energized because I think that [offensive line coach] Tom Cable feels the same way. We have all the respect in the world for Rodney [Hudson] and Gabe [Jackson] and Trent [Brown], but at this point we made a conscious decision to try to get younger, maybe a little bit more athletic, and let’s go. I can’t wait to see how we react.”

Sticking with Incognito at left guard isn’t exactly a way to get younger. Neither is re-signing 30-year-old Denzelle Good. But both have a good amount of starting experience at the guard positions.

As for right tackle, Mayock unearthed a practice squad player from last season.

“We’ve got a guy named Jaryd Jones-Smith that we signed off the street last week that we think has a chance to be a really good football player,” Mayock said of his plans at right tackle. “I’m kind of excited about him.”

Technically, Jones-Smith was not signed off the street last week. He was on the Raiders’ practice squad last season, appearing in three games. He was, however, signed to a reserve/future contract following the season.

If you’d prefer to read between the lines in how Mayock feels about the offensive line makeup, probably the most revealing statement he said about it came right after his mention of Jones-Smith.

“Obviously in free agency, whether it’s the ‘normal free agency period’ or what you’ve done on the street the prior year, you’re trying to set yourself up in the draft so you can take the best player you can take,” Mayock continued. “We’re very aware of our needs. And obviously, when your needs fit up with where you are on the draft board, that’s awesome. But when they don’t you have to be a little careful.”

What this says, essentially, is yes, Mayock is content with where the Raiders offensive line is with the guys he mentioned… going into the draft. Not that he feels like they’re good to go and don’t need to address the offensive line in the draft.

Mayock may or may not have been laying it on a little thick saying he’s “excited and energized” with the current offensive line, but it’s certainly possible he feels pretty good about how the line will look come May 1 when the draft is complete when whomever they draft is added to the current players on the roster.

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