When the news broke that the Las Vegas Raiders had hired NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock as their general manager a little over four years ago, there was general excitement. Excitement in the draft community. It was one of us. But it all fell apart quickly. So, what happened? And will we ever see this experiment at the general manager position again?
HAVE WE SEEN THE LAST OF THE TV GENERAL MANAGER?
Mike Mayock, Raiders GM
Mayock was hired away from NFL Network in December of 2018. He was paired with head coach Jon Gruden. To say that this was a surprise would be an understatement.
The Raiders were loaded with draft capital during Mayock’s first two seasons as a general manager.
During the 2019 NFL Draft, Las Vegas had three first-round draft picks. With those three picks, they selected edge rusher Clelin Ferrell, RB Josh Jacobs, and safety Johnathan Abram. None of those three had their fifth-year options picked up. In 2020, they selected twice in round one. Neither of those players, WR Henry Ruggs and CB Damon Arnette, are in the league anymore. Granted this is due to off-field issues. In 2021, the Raiders surprisingly took offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood in the first round. Leatherwood was released prior to the start of the 2022 season.
This is an inexcusable waste of draft resources. Las Vegas selected 23 players during the general manager regime of Mike Mayock. Only 12 are currently on the 53-man roster. Three of those are first-round picks that didn’t have their options picked up.
The biggest question we all had was: who is responsible for the top-end draft failures? Is it the general manager Mike Mayock? Or was it head coach Jon Gruden? I tend to lean towards the latter but we may never know.
Mayock Late Round Success?
While they unceremoniously failed early in the draft, they did succeed in the later rounds. In 2019, they picked heavy contributors Maxx Crosby (EDGE) and Hunter Renfrow (WR). In 2020, the Raiders selected starting guard John Simpson in round six. Then starting nickel Amik Robertson in round seven. Vegas then acquired starting CB Nate Hobbs in the 5th round last year. So, it wasn’t all a steaming bag of manure.
It is not like Mike Mayock was the worst general manager in the NFL during this stretch. You could make an argument for the Vikings (since fired) Rick Spielman. One could even say that Bill Belichick was the worst GM during that span.
WILL WE EVER SEE A TV GM AGAIN?
This is seemingly a million-dollar question. In recent years, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN’s Louis Riddick have had interviews for assorted general manager jobs. While each should be judged on their own merits, one can’t help but think that the perceived failures of Mike Mayock as a general manager will be held against anyone trying to go from TV to the front office.