The Oakland Raiders have had one of the more active off seasons this year. As a result of the team's salary cap issues, the Raiders were forced to make a number of moves to the roster before free agency began. The Raiders new general manager cut seven rather well known Raiders in order to create some cap space. With that newly created cap space, McKenzie went out and signed two cornerbacks (with a third on the way) and an offensive lineman.
However, despite the flurry of moves to the Raiders roster over the past few weeks, McKenzie is not ready to rest on his work. In a conference call with various Bay Area reporters, McKenzie discussed his game plan, with regards to the remainder of the off season.
With Regards to the Draft: When discussing the compensatory draft picks that the Raiders received, McKenzie noted that he believed that he most certainly could find a starting caliber player with one of the Raiders first two picks, in the third and fourth round respectively. McKenzie went on to state that he felt a GM should be aiming for starting caliber players in the first five rounds, and hope to get lucky and find a starter or two in the sixth, seventh and undrafted free agents.
With Regards to Roster Moves Prior to the Draft: McKenzie stated that at this point, he does not have any plans to make further roster moves prior to the draft. However, with that in mind, he was firm about noting that he was not closing any doors and would constantly be reviewing the options available to him. Specifically, he stated that he was open to the idea of trading players for more draft picks and that he never closes the door to the idea of trades.
With Regards to Draft Strategy: McKenzie stated that his draft strategy is to pick the best player available. McKenzie does not subscribe to the school of thought that says you should draft to your needs, even if there are better players available. McKenzie stated that even if the best player on the board was at a position where the Raiders were strong, he would still pick him.
With Regards to the Tight End Position: One of the more notable cuts that McKenzie made this season was that of tight end Kevin Boss. After only playing one year in the Silver and Black, Boss was let go this off season. McKenzie stated that he was happy with the tight ends the Raiders currently have on their roster, but that he would like to bring someone else in to compete for the position as well.