Nine potential Raiders GM candidates


Nine potential Raiders GM candidates

Green Bay director of football operations, and former Raiders linebacker, Reggie McKenzie reportedly interviewed for the vacant Raiders general manager on Wednesday. But a formal offer and acceptance cannot be made completed until after the Packers' postseason run is complete, meaning it might take until after the Super Bowl.As such, a look at nine football minds whose names have been bandied about, or are available, as the potential future Raiders G.M.

Reggie McKenzieThe seeming clubhouse leader, what with his history as a former Raiders linebacker and the purported endorsement of Ron Wolf, who has been working as an advisor behind the scenes to Mark Davis. McKenzie, who played for the Raiders from 1985 through 1988, has been in Green Bay's front office since 1994 and currently oversees the Packers' scouting of all professional football leagues and, per the team's Web Site,""is heavily involved in all of the team's moves on a daily basis, including all tryouts and transactions." He's ready to blossom and take that next step and, as a rookie G.M., would not come with an ego to clash with Hue Jackson. But as speculation has it, McKenzie might bring with him Packers assistant director of player personnel Eliot Wolf. Yes, Ron's son. And that could make Jackson twitchy.Bill PolianA six-time NFL executive of the year, Polian was let go this week by the Indianapolis Colts. He's built winners every where he's worked, from Buffalo to Carolina to Indianapolis. His reputation is one of building teams from the ground up, as he did with the Bills powerhouse of the late 80s and early 90s, the expansion Panthers, who were in the NFC title game in their second season, and, if course the Peyton Manning-led Colts. So, yeah, Polian has a rep that precedes him. But might that overshadow Jackson and create a rift between the coach, who was the de facto G.M. in the wake of Al Davis' passing, and Polian to great to bridge? And would Polian also bring his son Chris?Robert LondonWho? Exactly. But what London lacks in name recognition he more than makes up for in business acumen as one of the brightest NFL player agents out there. So bright he was rumored to be talking to the Raiders for the gig back in October. In that he's handpicked clients such as NFL leading rusher Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville and Chicago's Matt Forte, London is seen as a shrewd talent evaluator. And because he's had mostly tranquil negotiations with his clients' teams, he is seen as "getting it." Of course, he'd have to divest himself of his agency to work as a G.M. But at least he knows how the other side thinks and feels.
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Eric DeCostaThe Baltimore Ravens director of player personnel is a rising star in the league's talent evaluation system. He joined the Ravens as an entry level grunt when the organization "moved" from Cleveland in 1996 and has been there ever since. Per the Ravens' Web Site, "DeCosta works with GM Ozzie Newsome to oversee both the college and pro scouting departments" and "served on the eight-member committee to interview and select Ravens head coach John Harbaugh in 2008." Then there's this: he is obviously familiar with Jackson from Jackson's tome in Baltimore as the Ravens quarterback coach.Tom GambleAs the 49ers' first year director of player personnel Gamble cut his teeth with the Niners as the director of pro personnel the previous seven years. He also has a pretty gaudy resume when it comes to helping develop playoff contending teams. In his 24-year career, Gamble has now been associated with 10 playoff teams, five in Indianapolis, four in Philadelphia and this year's 13-3 49ers team. He has a reputation as a shrewd talent evaluator when it comes to NFL free agents, which the Raiders might have to delve into with so few draft picks at their disposal at the moment.
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Les SneadA young up and coming star in talent evaluation, the former Auburn tight end in 1992-93 is in his 13th season with the Atlanta Falcons, his third as the Falcons director of player personnel. With the Falcons, he also oversees the team's college and pro scouting while playing a day-to-day role in the analysis of the team's roster while providing a salary analysis of every player acquisition. He also worked in the pro scouting department of expansion Jacksonville from 1995-97, the Jaguars going to the AFC title game in 1996. Snead is also familiar with Jackson, from his time in Atlanta as the Falcons' offensive coordinator in 2007.Scot McCloughanThe former 49ers general manager landed on his feet as the Seattle Seahawks senior personnel executive. Before his time with the 49ers, with whom he helped draft Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis, McCloughan was with the Seahawks, helping craft a roster that went to the Super Bowl following the 2005 season. He also worked in Green Bay's scouting department in the mid-90s. The bonus? He is a Raiders legacy, of sorts, as his father Kent not only played defensive back for the Raiders from 1965-70, but was also a scout for the team for more than 30 years.
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Ron WolfI joke. Kinda. But the 73-year-old Wolf has already been acting in an advisory role, so why not pull a Dick CheneyRollie Massimino and say, Hey, I can't find anyone better than myself, why not hire me? Nah, probably not, but still. Many Raiders loyalists see Wolf as the true architect behind each of the Raiders' three Super Bowl championship teams. Lightning in a bottle, anyone?Hue JacksonI joke again. Kinda. But the moves and words coming from Jackson in his first year as a head coach at any level have been more of the G.M. variety than an X's and O's kinda guy. It wouldn't be hard to imagine Jackson promoting himself for the role to Mark Davis, considering how he said he wants to be a bigger part of the organization and knows what needs to be done to fix the roster. Sounds like a player personnel guy, right? This way, Jackson would have absolutely no one to answer to in a football operations situation. HueJack City to the extreme.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”