The hay may not be fully in the barn, but the barn has been emptied of any livestock.
The Raiders have sent their scouts home until after the draft, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. Per the report, coach Jon Gruden and G.M. Mike Mayock “don’t know who to trust.”
(Well, for starters, they can’t trust whoever leaked that tidbit to Rapoport.)
It’s a bizarre report, for a variety of reasons. First, it suggests an unprecedented level of paranoia. Second, it reveals that Gruden and Mayock have no functional plan for securing the most sensitive information regarding their final draft board or strategy, without demoralizing the entire scouting staff. Third, acting on the lack of trust creates the impression that the Raiders are more dysfunctional than other teams, even if other teams have the same concerns.
And they do. Coaches and General Managers routinely take steps to keep their plans secret within the building, given the possibility that someone may intentionally or accidentally blab. While clearing the building may create complete protection against espionage, there has to be a way to do it that doesn’t entail telling the world, “Hey, look at us! We don’t know what we’re doing!”
It also underscores the immense pressure that Gruden and Mayock (mainly Gruden) are currently feeling to turn a trio of first-round picks into players who will make fans and critics forget about Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper.
Earlier this week, PFT Live included a draft of the draft rooms we’d most like to visit. Apparently, there will be plenty of empty seats in Oakland’s.