Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden sent their scouts home for the weekend because “they don’t know who to trust and wanted to clear the room.”
Rapoport added that the scouts are not expected to return by the time the NFL draft begins on April 25.
Albert Breer of The MMQB noted that Mayock and Gruden’s decision likely has to do with plans to make significant changes in the scouting department after the draft:
Albert Breer @AlbertBreer
Expectation has been that much of the scouting department would be turned over post-draft. Looks like word being out there on it led Mayock, Gruden, and Co. to close ranks. https://t.co/0bks0DIBIk
Stephen Holder of The Athletic also reported that some of the scouts currently on staff with the Raiders are set to join other organizations after the draft:
Stephen Holder @HolderStephen
More context: Some of those guys will be joining other teams in the next few weeks after their contracts expire, so Mayock/Gruden aren’t totally insane. There’s some reason to actually be paranoid. But this still seems to be a little much.
The 2019 draft promises to be a huge one for the Raiders since they own three first-round picks (Nos. 4, 24 and 27) after trading defensive end Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper last season. It is also the first draft with Mayock at the helm after the firing of former GM Reggie McKenzie.
Oakland is coming off a 4-12 season, and it has reached the playoffs just once since 2003. The Raiders have made some big moves during the offseason aimed toward making an improvement in what is supposed to be their final season in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas, though.
The Raiders acquired All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade and also signed wide receiver Tyrell Williams, safety Lamarcus Joyner and linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall.
Oakland has a chance to select as many as three immediate starters in the first round of the draft, including a potential impact player in the front seven, such as Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen or Alabama’s Quinnen Williams at No. 4.
There are also questions regarding the future of quarterback Derek Carr with the Raiders due to the presence of highly touted quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins in the 2019 draft class.
The 2019 draft could lay the groundwork for years of success or failure within the Raiders organization, and it looks like Mayock and Gruden will be almost entirely responsible for the direction.