INDIANAPOLIS -- Raiders general manager Mike Mayock was asked Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine about his team’s seemingly desperate need for a free safety.
He didn’t answer the question directly. Or specifically, for that matter.
He took a step back from the free safety position and widened the scope of his response, saying there are too many Raiders needs to focus on just one. In that point, he is correct.
The Raiders need so much in so many different areas that they have to grab the best talent available (and affordable) and build the roster’s talent base over time. This roster revolution is going to take some time, and Mayock wants the Raiders to be ready for anything at any time.
“The problem is that we have so many needs right now that we can’t just approach one,” Mayock said. “I keep talking to our salary cap people and coaches and personnel people and, it sounds weird, but I keep saying that we have to be nimble. We have to be nimble throughout the whole process. We have so many needs. We have offensive line needs and cornerback needs and needs everywhere. It all depends on who is available, when they’re available and whether we’re talking free agency or NFL draft.”
Mayock and coach Jon Gruden can improve several areas over the next few months. Here’s a quick priority list of what the Raiders need most:
1. Edge rusher
2. Another edge rusher
3. Wide receiver
4. Another wide receiver
5. Yet another wide receiver (I’m only half joking)
6. Middle linebacker
7. Free safety
8. Running back
9. Offensive tackle
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And, no, that doesn’t cover everything.
The Raiders won’t completely reconstruct a deficient roster in one offseason, but the tools available this spring should jump-start the process. The Raiders have 10 NFL draft picks, including four in the top 35, with roughly $71 million in cap space and financial flexibility in future seasons.
“It is easy to focus on the three first-round picks, but we need to hit throughout the entire draft,” Mayock said. “We got 10 picks, that could be more or less at the end of the day. But we’ve got 10 picks, and we value all of them. We need to hit on a high, high percentage. We’ve got more needs than I can even tell you about right now, and that means we’ve got to hit everywhere. Free agency, draft, college free agency, everywhere.”