The Raiders’ draft got a bit better looking when the NFL awarded them compensatory picks in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, but Reggie McKenzie is still working with a thin deck in his first year as the team’s general manager.
In an interview with Peter King for King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column, McKenzie said that he isn’t bothered by the fact that the Raiders lost their first four picks via trades and the decision to take Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft last season. He said his experience in Green Bay taught him that you can find productive players in the late rounds or as undrafted free agents so it never entered his mind to pass on the Raiders job because of their lack of draft picks.
McKenzie also used the interview to restate his belief in Carson Palmer as the team’s quarterback. The Raiders traded this year’s first-round pick and next year’s second-round pick for Palmer before McKenzie was on the job, but he wouldn’t take the bait when King asked if he missed having those selections.
“You can beat that doggone story ’til it’s worn out,” said McKenzie. “But I know this: We’ve got a quarterback we think can win the division and take us to the playoffs. Losing a one and a two doesn’t bother me one bit.”
If Palmer does lead the Raiders to a division title, McKenzie will probably have a lot of company in that belief.