Before he was even able to have any games as a general manager under his belt, Mike Mayock had a couple of season-defining moments. First, he shocked the NFL world by snagging Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers for only a third and a fifth-round pick. However, It only took several months for that move to blow up in his face literally and figuratively.
The Raiders had to let go of Brown and didn’t even get a single game out of him. Mayock was at the center of the controversy and he hasn’t spoken to an independent media outlet about the situation since. He finally broke his silence on the issue in a conversation with The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and had a surprising admission about all the drama.
“I put that on me,” Mayock said on Friday. “My anticipation was that he was coming off a situation in Pittsburgh where he wants to prove everybody wrong and he wants to ride into the Hall of Fame. That he was going to come in with Jon Gruden and Derek Carr and our offense and lead the way. … I really thought we were going to get the best out of Antonio Brown and we didn’t.
“We weren’t able to get anything out of him. So, at the end of the day, in hindsight, we lost a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick, and I can’t tell you how much pain that causes me.”
In Mayock’s defense, those involved with the Steelers were probably the only people who saw Brown being a disaster in Oakland. Mike Tomlin and company did a pretty solid job of covering up for the wide receiver. It was an understandable risk to take for a Hall of Fame level talent and the Raiders obviously lost out.
Mayock Non-Committal on Derek Carr
Mayock first broke his silence by speaking with the Raiders’ website. In his interview with the team, he had some big praise for quarterback Derek Carr. However, he sounded a lot less committal in his interview with Tafur.
“I think Derek stepped forward in Year 2 under Jon Gruden,” Mayock said. “His mental capacity to handle what Jon asks him to do, his accuracy, his arm talent … I think he had a better second year under Jon than a first year.
“As far as what the future holds, I’m gonna tell you the same thing I told you last year. About every position. And that is, my job is to evaluate every position and try and make us better. And if I can, I will, and if I can’t, I won’t. And that holds true at every position.”
As most would’ve probably guessed, the Raiders are going to do their due diligence on the available quarterbacks in the draft and free agency. That doesn’t mean Carr is going anywhere, but it wouldn’t even be a question if there wasn’t a possibility that the team had a slight interest in upgrading the position.
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Mayock Talks Draft
Mayock’s biggest saving grace from his first year as the Raiders’ general manager was the excellent rookie class he put together. Not only did he find solid contributors all over the draft, but he also helped find a number of excellent undrafted free agents. He’s happy with the players he drafted in year one.
“I told this to a couple people this week at the East-West practices, as we were talking about our drafts, and the thing we liked the most about this draft was that the guys were who we hoped they would be,” Mayock said. “Both as players and as people. They worked their tails off.”
The Raiders didn’t get a single negative peep from their rookies and they had multiple players overachieve. Mayock deserves a ton of credit for the draft class he put together as it could be the best the team has had since 2014. Though the Antonio Brown debacle will always be a black mark on his resume, he’s already made up for it.