Mike Mayock: We did not have a dynamic defensive player at any level in 2020

Oakland Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
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Since Jon Gruden returned to the Raiders as head coach in 2018, the Raiders’ defense has been an issue.

That came to a head in 2020, with Gruden firing defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in December. He’s since hired former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to run the defense in 2021. But one of Las Vegas’ issues has been personnel.

In an interview with the Raiders’ official website this week, General Manager Mike Mayock was frank in what he saw as the biggest problem.

“The way we look at it, or at least the way I look at it, is last year we did not have a dynamic playmaker at any level,” Mayock said. “And that’s hard, when you go in a game every Sunday and they don’t have to specifically game plan for any one player.”

Mayock pointed to defensive end Maxx Crosby as someone who has the potential to become one of those guys. A 2019 fourth-round pick, he’s led the Raiders in sacks in each of his first two seasons with 10.0 as a rookie and 7.0 in 2020.

The G.M. also mentioned 2019 No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell, who has not produced at the expected level of a top-five pick with just 6.5 sacks in two years. But Mayock still said he feels Ferrell will “continue to develop.”

Since 2019, the Raiders have used first or second-round selections on cornerback Trayvon Mullen, safety Johnathan Abram, and cornerback Damon Arnette.

“It’s time for them to start playing,” Mayock said. “And at the end of the day, they need to be a lot more consistent. And, again, COVID year, a lot of injuries — I get it. But we’ve got to demand more from them next year.”

Mayock acknowledged he has to be better as well when it comes to identifying talent. The Raiders have gone 7-9 and 8-8 in his two seasons as G.M.

25 responses to “Mike Mayock: We did not have a dynamic defensive player at any level in 2020

  1. Terrible drafting. They got nothing out of the Khalil Mack trade.

    A trade back might be a win-win for both teams at this point.

  2. The Mayock/Gruden pairing has gone about as well as many of us expected. And, that is just fine with the rest of the league.

  3. Mayock talks a good game but is in over his head as he has made some good late round picks but his early 1st and 2nd rounders are awful.

  4. Oakland is performing the experiment: “do draft gurus know what they’re talking about or is it all a crapshoot”.

    I like Mayock, but the results don’t look good so far for the draftniks.

  5. If i remember correctly the Raiders were mocked for picking Clelin Ferrell that high. They picked him as a character guy more than his game breaking talent and has performed about as well as expected for a guy drafted for his character.

    Most teams go for talent in the top 5 though.

  6. Gruden’s 4-12, 7-9, & 8-8. Congrats to the Grinders. 3rd best QB in the division & depending on who the Broncos draft Carr may drop to 4th. LOL

  7. Trent Brown was the main thing he kept getting hurt all year. Mayocks pick havent been so good but no team hits all the time Josh Jacobs is great!

  8. curtis20 says:
    Mayocks pick havent been so good but no team hits all the time Josh Jacobs is great!

    You’re right, no team hits “all the time,” and Josh Jacobs is “great.” But you have to hit on a lot more than one guy in two years if you’re going to last very long as a GM in this league.
    Mike Mayock’s draft picks have predominately landed between extremely average to outright misses, and he hasn’t fared much better in free agency. Much of the draft capital the Raiders accumulated from the Khalil Mack trade hasn’t, and likely won’t ever pay much in the way of dividends.
    The Raiders are below .500 during Mayock’s tenure, and outside a couple of good players the defense is almost devoid of top NFL talent. Josh Jacobs may be a strong and talented young runner, but in the grand scheme he hardly balances the ledger sheet.

  9. No, but they did have one in 2018 when Gruden took over. Guess Khalil Mack didn’t “fit”.

  10. Mayock is all talk, he thinks by being honest it keeps him off the hot seat ! I think his act wears out fast ,he overloads himself with so much draft bs he cat see the forest through the trees ! I guarantee right now he’s looking at film ,running this guy that guy past Gruden and Gruden is like ,just get me a guy who can play that’s all JUST GET ME A GUY THAT CAN PLAY DUDE !

  11. Josh Jacobs alone was worth the Mack trade, IMO. Great kid who actually seems happy to be a Raider.

  12. Maybe Mayock and Gruden should stop acting like they know more than everyone else in the draft by picking guys that are expected to go much later.

  13. This “kid” Mayock has alot of heart but he just isn’t ready to transition to the pro scouting game

  14. Mayock mistakes and Gruden playing fantasy football.

    Some head scratching moves for sure. Not trying to rub it in, I was shocked that Carl Nassib got rewarded with a contract, but was not shocked he a healthy scratch a couple of times. Browns fans witnessed his disappearing act on Sundays with too much frequency.

    Martavis Bryant trade and AB signings were head scratchers are well.

  15. Well GM maybe if we stop drafting players who played in the National Championship automatically assuming just because he played at Alabama or OSU he’s gonna be great in the NFL pass on Jefferson or Lamb because he played at bama or taking Ferrell over Josh Allen who was a much better pass rusher like we need and the Arnette pick lol time to admit you reached and fix it if not another 8-8 and the wait till next year again for the 17th time in 18 years will begin for us fans lol…. RN4L….

  16. We would have if you drafted Devin White or Josh Allen instead of Cle Ferrell. I said this when we drafted Cle Ferrell, at that high in the draft, you have to swing for prospects with elite traits or elite athleticism, which he had neither of. Devin White would have solved a ton of our LB problems and he’s already an all-pro! Mayock keeps reaching on draft picks and then wonders why they aren’t working out.
    How about the Maliek Collins signing? How about the Littleton signing? How about the Lamarcus Joyner signing? How about burning a 3rd round pick on Tanner Muse?! Jonathan Abram and Damon Arnette were 1st round picks that haven’t lived up to expectations. Nick Kwiatkowski was a decent signing, he played well this season but obviously not the biggest impact player. Mayock has invested heavily in the defense the last two years with draft capital and FA signings and none of them have really produced.

  17. Not to mention Mayock and Gruden signed players that didn’t fit the defensive scheme *cough* Littleton *cough* and were shocked that they didn’t perform. Players aren’t plug and play in this league anymore.
    You don’t draft or sign a deep threat WR in a short to medium throw offense. You don’t sign a coverage LB and expect him to be a thumper in the middle of your defense. Mayock and Gruden have been trying to stick round pegs in square holes for 3 years and then trying to figure out why it’s not working.

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