NFL Draft Record Says Great Fake GM Mike Mayock Wasn’t Too Good As Raiders Real GM

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Forget for a moment that Mike Mayock was great as an NFL Network draft analyst and convinced everyone he understood the ins and outs of picking college talent because no matter how eloquent and passionate and convincing, it’s going to be hard trusting his opinion the next time he’s on TV.

Something’s changed with Mayock and we have his time at the Oakland and then Las Vegas Raiders general manager to blame for that.

mike mayock
Former Raiders GM Mike Mayock. (Getty Images)

Mayock, you’ll recall, was rolling from 2004 to 2018 as the premier draft expert on NFL Network. His opinion wasn’t gospel, but we trusted the guy’s eye and conviction and authority.

Mike Mayock Moves from Fake GM to Raiders GM

So did the Raiders. That’s probably one reason they hired him in December of 2018 as their new general manager — a fake TV GM offered a chance to be a real NFL GM.

The opportunity of a lifetime.

Except it didn’t go well.

And this is the part of this analysis where you must know Mayock’s time as a general manager wasn’t a total, well, bust.

The Raiders were 4-12 the year before Mayock took over and 10-7 when he was fired. He had some notable good picks in his three drafts, such as defensive end Maxx Crosby in the 2019 fourth round, receiver Hunter Renfro in the fifth round that same year and 2021 mid-rounders Divine Deablo and Nate Hobbs who showed promise as rookies.

But the early rounds? Mayock was atrocious.

Mike Mayock’s First-Round Track Record

Consider the track record of Mayock’s first-round picks in the NFL draft:

  • 2019: Josh Jacobs — Fifth-year option declined.
  • 2019: Johnathan Abram — Fifth-year option declined.
  • 2019: Clelin Ferrell — Terribly overdrafted, a backup, and fifth-year option declined.

Those were Mayock’s first-round hits. The misses:

  • 2020: Damon Arnette — Released.
  • 2020: Henry Ruggs III — Released.
  • 2021: Alex Leatherwood — Released.

Leatherwood, who Mayock called a “plug-and-play right tackle” lasted only four games at the position his rookie year before moving to guard. This year, under new coach Josh McDaniels, he was supplanted by rookie seventh-round pick Thayer Munford and Jermaine Eluemunor.

And how could a former first-round pick lose his roster spot to a seventh-rounder and a journeyman?

Leatherwood surrendered 10 pressures this preseason. That was the most of any NFL offensive linemen this preseason.

Most Second- And Third-Round Picks Struggled

Mayock, no doubt with the strong push from former coach Jon Gruden, also struggled in the second and even third rounds, Crosby notwithstanding.

The Raiders on Tuesday traded cornerback Trayvon Mullen to the Arizona Cardinals after an injury-riddled rookie season in ’21. Mayock drafted him in the second round. New GM Dave Ziegler traded him for a conditional seventh-rounder.

This buying high and selling low stuff has shadowed some of Mayock’s picks.

He drafted Lynn Bowden in the third round of the 2020 draft and traded him to the Dolphins for a fifth-round pick before he ever played a regular-season game. The Dolphins cut Bowden on Tuesday.

Mayock drafted safety Tyree Gillespie in the fourth-round of last year’s draft. He was traded by Ziegler to the Tennessee Titans for a conditional seventh-round pick — which they won’t receive, by the way, because the Titans cut him this week.

So Mayock was picking players the Raiders ultimately wouldn’t want. And other teams wouldn’t want, either.

The 2020 NFL Draft Nightmare

The Raiders moved to Las Vegas for the start of the 2020 season. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It should be noted the Raiders are today considered a playoff contender and they consider themselves a Super Bowl contender. But none of that has anything to do with Mayock’s 2020 NFL draft.

From that draft:

First rounders Ruggs and Arnette have been cut.

Third-rounders (there were no second-rounders) Bowden and Bryan Edwards were traded.

Third-rounder Tanner Muse was cut without ever playing a down for the team.

Look, this isn’t a rip job on Mayock. He’s by all accounts a good person who worked hard and did the best he could in a tough situation. All NFL general managers, current and past, have hits and misses.

It just so happened Mayock’s whiffs came with premium picks — a lot of them.

That probably means Mayock isn’t going to get another shot to be an NFL GM again. But he probably is going to get opportunities to return to television, where he did outstanding work as a so-called draft guru.

The problem is he generally wasn’t accountable for his opinions before, but he has a track record now. So what happens the next time Mike Mayock is on TV telling you whether a NFL draft prospect is going to be a good NFL player or not?

Will we trust he’s probably right?

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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