I'm really torn about Reggie McKenzie right now. Before this year, he had a history of terrible head coaching hires, terrible drafting, trades and free agency. Heading in to 2014, going into the offseason, Reggie McKenzie's big free agent signing is Rodger Saffold. He sits there and offers him this huge contract, and Saffold fails the physical and Mark Davis voids the deal. And then he allowed Veldheer and Houston, arguably our 2 best players at that time to leave without applying the franchise tag to either one of them. He traded for Matt Schaub and paid him 13 million dollars to warm the bench. He also kept Dennis Allen who was clearly in over his head and not the type of leader of men that you want as a head coach in the NFL.
You look at the 2014 offseason, part of the whole thing with Reggie McKenzie is that he was building up to this offseason they had so much available cap space. But again, if you're building primarily through free agency, you're doing 2 things: one, you're admiting failures in the previous drafts (which obviously happened on the previous seasons in great abundance), and two, you're getting older as a team, and that's never a direction you want to go if you're not a contender. And in general, the free agent moves in the 2014 offseason didn't pan out all that well. James Jones was OK, a couple of other guys are decent, but the rest doesn't pan out and at the end, we still finished 3-13.
One thing that indicate that things are going to get better quickly, and the one thing that frankly has saved Reggie McKenzie's job at this point was his 2014 NFL draft. He got that star on defense that we desperately needed in Khalil Mack. And it looks like for the time being he found the QB that could potentially be that guy that we can build around on offense in Derek Carr. Nice choice in 3rd round in Gabe Jackson and Justin Ellis in the 4th round. This is by far THE best draft Reggie McKenzie has had during his time in Oakland. It might be a little bit easier getting these drafts when a lot of these players fall into his lap, in a draft class as deep and as loaded as it was, but it got me thinking that things are going to get a lot better for the Raiders very soon considering we finished the last 6 games 3-3, which the wins came from quality opponents with the 9-7 Chiefs, 8-8 49ers and 9-7 Bills.
However, one of the most ridiculous things that he missed on this year, was not drafting a wide receiver in either the 3rd or 4th round. So even when McKenzie has the best draft of his time here, he still found a way to screw it up by not dipping into the talent pool at wide receiver early enough in a historically best ever rookie wide receiver class. Imagine how much better the future of the Raiders will be if he had taken guys like Martavis Bryant or John Brown. That was the type of talent that's available in this year's WR class and he largely skipped on that. He must find pieces at the WR position moving forward to help Derek Carr. We need a real #1 option, we need the guy that can stretch the field, we need difference makers on the outside.