Mike Mayock Thinks He Found Many Gruden Grinders Throughout the Draft
If you have listened to any Mike Mayock interview this offseason, he has preached building a foundation. He has built a foundation through free agency and the NFL Draft. He has signed marquee free agents like Trent Brown and Tyrell Williams, while also bringing in arguably the best receiver in the NFL, through a stunning trade, in Antonio Brown. Lastly, he has brought in high character, high motor players throughout the NFL Draft. And throughout the entire process he has always brought it back to building a foundation for the Oakland Raiders.
Leading up to the draft, all draft evaluators were enamored with who the Raiders were going to select with their three first round selections. Not even their scouting department had any idea who they would select. Last week before the draft they were sent home, not to return before the draft. I recapped it an article last week.
Clelin Ferrell, DE, University of Clemson
With their #4 selection, the Raiders selected Clelin Ferrell. Most draft evaluators deemed this pick to be a reach, that was my first reaction as well, but after the dust settled, I could not have been any happier with this selection. Mayock picked a great football player that is an even better person. He has all the intangibles that you look for in a first round pick. He has great leadership and has extremely high character. Ferrell will look to make an instant impact in our defense that was sack hungry last season.
Josh Jacobs, RB, University of Alabama
With their second first round selection, #24 overall, the Raiders picked Josh Jacobs. Jacobs had to compete for carries, like any Bama RB for the past 10 years. He shined in every opportunity in 2018 finishing with 640 yards on 120 carries and 11 touchdowns. Jacobs will be penciled in as RB1 in the Raiders offense and has a great chance to be a high impact player immediately.
Jonathan Abrams, S, Mississippi State University
With their last selection in the first round, #27 overall, the Raiders picked Jonathan Abrams. Abrams is the definition of a Gruden Grinder. He is a heavy hitter that will make his presence felt early in games. Abrams calling card is covering tight ends and playing down in the box. He will be utilized in every AFC West game this season covering the likes of Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry and rookie Noah Fant.
Trayvon Mullen, CB, University of Clemson
The Raiders traded back multiple times in the second round, trying to gain more assets. Following Day 2 of the NFL Draft, Mayock held a press conference recapping Day 2. During that press conference he said, “We are excited to get Trayvon, love his length and fits Paul Guenther’s defense to a T.” Mayock said Trayvon was their target all along, even though they traded back twice. Trayvon will look to compete for CB2 against Daryl Worley.
Maxx Crosby, DE, Eastern Michigan University
To start the third and final day of the NFL Draft. The Raiders selected ‘Mad’ Max Crosby. Crosby will be a plug and play defender for Guenther. Crosby was a 2x 1st-Team All-MAC. Having 18.5 sacks the last two seasons combined. During Mayock’s call to Crosby he stated, “We need you to get in the weight room, if you get stronger you will be a menace.” Ferrell and Crosby will look to form a dynamic duo pass rush the Raiders have desperately needed.
Isaiah Johnson, CB, University of Houston
The Raiders traded back again from #109 to #129. With that selection they picked Johnson. Johnson is a converted DB that came into Houston as a WR. Johnson is a long cornerback at 6’2″. He even matches his height with speed, running a 4.4 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. Johnson adds even more depth to an already young defensive back core for the Raiders. He will look to compete with 2nd round draft pick Mullen.
Foster Moreau, TE, Louisiana State University
The Raiders selected Moreau with the #137 overall selection. Everybody knew the Raiders would add a tight end at some point during the draft. Moreau has the versatility that the Raiders are looking for at their tight end position. He is a tremendous run blocker that can match his blocking skills with even better hands. Moreau caught 8 career touchdowns during his tenure at LSU. The Raiders will look to have Moreau compete with Darren Waller for the starting job.
Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson University
The Raiders traded up in the fifth round to select Renfrow. Renfrow will be a nightmare in the slot. With Brown and Williams on the outside, Renfrow will have the whole field open in the middle. Renfrow arguably has the best hands in this draft class, despite having the smallest sized hands at the NFL Combine. Derek Carr has to be in love with this selection, the Raiders have done everything they can to add weapons for him this offseason.
Quinton Bell, DE, Prairie View A&M
With their last pick in the NFL Draft, the Raiders selected Bell. Bell might be the biggest project in the NFL. He is a converted DE that used to play WR. He is 6’4″ 230 lbs, so he might be the scariest edge rusher if he can fill out his frame. With the Raiders finishing last season last in the NFL in sacks, it is hard to see us match that low number again next season. Gruden said that his head scout kept telling him to draft Bell throughout the entire offseason. Just shows that persistence pays off.
Mayock believes these draft selections along with the key players they brought in through trades and free agency have build a strong foundation for the Raiders to last years. We just have to wait for OTA’s and Minicamp to get a look at these players and see how they are meshing with the existing roster and coaches.