Why Raiders have reasons to close ranks with NFL draft approaching


Information has been gathered on this year’s NFL draft. It’s time for Raiders decision makers to start making decisions.

That’s why the team is closing ranks leading up to next week’s draft. The Raiders sent their scouts home for the weekend and won’t bring them back before the NFL draft, NFL Network first reported Thursday morning.

Few inside any organization know the true plans, which top brass prefers to remain in-house leading up to the draft. Leaks are less likely when the circle of trust is small, which is why the act of sending some personnel people home is not entirely uncommon.

Even the part of the NFL Network report that suggests general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden don’t know who to trust is somewhat understandable when given some context.

Significant turnover within the scouting staff is expected after the NFL draft, something sources say is relatively common knowledge in the team facility. That leaves many without job security, lessening allegiance that could lead to leaks.

Scouts working on this year’s draft were hired by a previous regime, creating an awkward pairing as we head toward the spring.

Mayock was hired on Dec. 31, 2018, already deep into the team’s 2019 draft prep. There wasn’t time to make hires at the national and regional levels – the team still hasn’t replaced director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales, who was let go in January after years as Reggie McKenzie’s right-hand man -- and Mayock said at the Senior Bowl he wanted to evaluate incumbent scouts during this pre-draft process.

The Raiders certainly want to avoid a repeat of last year when leaks were prevalent leading up to a draft where scouts and coaches reportedly had different draft boards.

Mayock said in January he wants to create an open building with transparency between coaches and scouts, with everyone pulling in the same direction.

This NFL Network report about trust issues suggests the building isn’t there yet, and won’t be until Mayock can import some of his guys. And the fact releasing the scouts immediately got leaked to a national reporter is a sign the Raiders were right to be worried.

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We’re less than a week from the NFL draft now, and the Raiders have tons of information on this class of prospects. They’ll strategize on how to navigate an all-important draft that will play a massive role in the Gruden/Mayock tenure.

Few people will know exactly what the Raiders will do even after strategy sessions, and they’d like to keep it that way.

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