Jon Gruden has some pointed advice for his new general manager as Mike Mayock approaches his first NFL draft as the Oakland Raiders' general manager, after years as a draft analyst for NFL Network.
Especially with the Raiders holding so much draft capital.
"Don't mess it up, dude," Gruden told Mayock. "I took a lot of slings to get you three first-round picks."
Indeed, Gruden is still taking flak for last fall's trades of All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack and Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper that netted Oakland first-round picks from the Chicago Bears (No. 24 overall) and Dallas Cowboys (No. 27) to go with their own pick at No. 4.
But consider: The Raiders are just the fourth team in the past 30 years — the first since the 2001 Rams — to enter draft day with three first-rounders.
Mess it up? Mayock is embracing the challenge.
"You always have to go back to trusting who you are as an evaluator," said Mayock, who also said his board will be stacked by the end of next week.
Oakland, who finished 4-12 last season and has already added 19 players this offseason, has just three defensive ends on the roster. That's despite ending the year with a league-low 13 sacks, 17 fewer than anyone else in the NFL last season. In fact, six individual players had more sacks than Oakland did as a team.