That may not sound too surprising, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a head coach attend the conference since McKenzie took over the team. And I’m not alone, Vic Tafur acknowledged the sighting as well.
Del Rio sitting in on this year's pre-draft news conference, a first for a coach in the McKenzie era. #Raiders— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) April 24, 2015
It appears that McKenzie is making a point of including his veteran head coach.
“Yeah, we’re involved. Reggie has been great about being inclusive and watching the process. The coaching evaluation is one aspect of it,” Del Rio said.
But Del Rio’s voice is only one of many, including McKenzie’s team of scouts that has been working around the clock to evaluate potential draft picks.
“Our guys have worked very hard and their input has been taken into consideration, along with all the works that the scouts do year-round in terms of gathering background information and getting a feel for the players. So it’s just one piece of the big process of going through these guys and evaluating them.”
And like every other NFL team, the Raiders staff is doing their due diligence on all of the players on their radar.
“I think it’s all a part of the process if you think about all of the different things that are looked at and considered in preparing for the draft and to make a selection,” Del Rio said. “The measurables are one piece, the college film is one piece. Live exposure, watching them interact with their teammates, is one piece. Background checks are another piece.
“There’s so many different factors. Their health is obviously a big piece. That’s one of the main reasons you have the combine, to collect the medical data on some of these prospects. Play history is obviously a big part of it, what guys have done. Productive guys tend to remain productive guys. So you’re looking at all of that as you’re putting together your board, so it’s a very thorough process.
But the head coach knows you have to take all the factors into account, as opposed to just focusing on one thing.
“I wouldn’t say there’s any one part that’s more important than the other,” Del Rio said. “I think it’s all part of how you look at and how you put together your evaluation and your final grade on a guy before he gets placed on the board.”