Any pressure general manager Reggie McKenzie may feel to turn the Raiders around in Year 3 will not have any affect on how runs the 2014 NFL draft.
“You draft for the future,’’ McKenzie said Thursday at a press conference with local media. “You don’t draft for right now. That’s not the way you do it. That’s not the way I do it.’’
McKenzie was short on specifics and spoke in mostly general terms rather than make public any relevant information with the draft a week away.
The Raiders at present pick at No. 5 overall and have selections in the first through fourth rounds and have three picks in the seventh round. Their fifth and sixth-round picks were dealt to Seattle and Houston for quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Matt Schaub.
McKenzie is open to trading for additional picks, something he did last season in moving from the No. 3 pick to No. 12 in order to secure a second-round draft pick.
“I’m open to anything. Whether I stay at No. 5 depends on so many things,’’ McKenzie said. “I can not say what I’m going to do without a doubt right now.’’
There has been some contact with general managers, McKenzie said, but “no firm offers.’’
Following an offseason where the Raiders added several veteran free agents, McKenzie expects the Raiders to be much more competitive following back-to-back 4-12 seasons.
“We’re working toward progress, continuous progress,’’ McKenzie said. “This offseason it is starting to come to fruition. We brought in some players to compete, to make us better. When you bring in some good players it fosters competition. Competition makes us better. This year we will be better.’’
– McKenzie confirmed free agent signing Austin Howard, right tackle with the Jets, will get a look at right guard with the club having released Mike Brisiel.
“What coach (Tony) Sparano likes with the offensive line is versatility,’’ McKenzie said. “What else can this guy play. We already know he can play right tackle. We think he can play right guard also so let’s get the best five and see what happens.
x—Although Schaub has arrived to play quarterback, the Raiders will consider taking another quarterback.
“What it does is just give us some stability at that position, and we needed that,’’ McKenzie said. “Because we traded for Schaub does that mean we’re going to bypass a guy that we’ve got graded a certain way? No.’’
– Safety Tyvon Branch has been fully cleared to participate in organized team activities and minicamps after missing last season with a broken ankle.