Longtime Raiders scout Jon Kingdon was a guest of Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on Sirius XM NFL radio over the weekend, and although there was nothing earth-shattering in his revelations, it was a rare opportunity to hear someone from the scouting department going on the record.
On the vision on general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen . . .
“We met with at the combine, we got together and all got on the same page. Things change a little bit, what kind of players they’re looking for, specifically position-wise. We’re moving to more of a zone blocking scheme, and our defense will change a little bit so we’ll be working very close with him to get the type of players they’re looking for. I think on the offensive line we’ll be looking for movement, the athletic type of linemen, that’s an example of something we’ll be focusing on.”
Looking to the future past simply this season when assessing talent in the McKenzie/Allen era . . .
“Yeah, pretty much, particularly, I think you have to anticipate losing players , guys that next year will be true free agents and restricted free agents and such. You want to get guys that can step in immediately and you want to get guys that will be able step in a year or two from now.”
Philospophy on workout warriors such as Bruce Campbell, dealt for Carolina running back Mike Goodson . . .
“I thought the fourth round was a great spot for him. You want a little more consistency in his play out of college. I think that’s what held him back, obviously. His workout numbers were off the charts. I think one of the problems was we put him in at guard and that really wasn’t a position for him. I think in retrospect give him one spot and kind of let him grow with that spot. I think this trade works out awfully well for both of us in the sense that we’ve lost Michael Bush. Goodson’s a player who we really liked coming out and he was sort of behind on the depth chart in Carolina, didn’t have an opportunity, and Bruce at this point wasn’t getting much of an opportunity either, so I think it could work out both ways.”
Kingdon was identified as the “director of college scouting” by Sirius, interesting in that the Raiders have never called their talent evaluators anything other than the non-specific desingation of “scout.”
McKenzie said in February he didn’t plan on making any changes in the scouting department until after the draft.
The scouting staff is being looked at closely right now, and their performance and how they see players will be crucial in whether or not they’re retained.
Not that they have to agree with McKenzie and Allen on every turn. Healthy debate and dissent is important when evaluating talent, leaving the final call to McKenzie.
A common misperception among some concerning Raiders scouts is that they simply fell in line with everything Al Davis saw in a player. In actuality, I’ve talked to a couple of scouts who often disagreed with Davis on players and told him so. They were usually overruled, but to assume there won’t be some productive give-and-take with McKenzie and that they’ll mindlessly be bringing in “bigger, stronger, faster” at the expense of production would be a mistake.
The Raiders won’t be on the clock until the third round of the draft, but the scouting department has been on the clock since McKenzie arrived.