Combine Performances Can Unite or Divide Oakland Raiders’ Leadership

Every offseason in Oakland seems to be more important than the one before it. Until the Raiders can climb out of the bay-area mud and wash away the stench of the darkest years in franchise history, that will continue to be the case.

The Raiders will rely on general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio—an unlikely partnership forged by owner Mark Davis. It’s in their best interest to make the relationship work, but like an arranged marriage, it’s not going to be without its challenges.

The NFL Scouting Combine is the first offseason event with great potential to unite or divide McKenzie and Del Rio. Disagreements can lead to dissonance and dispute if the two men aren’t careful.


Athletic Testing

The combine as we see it is a series of events aimed at getting a baseline measurement of athleticism. There are events that measure speed, agility and change of direction, and there are ones that attempt to quantify how explosive they are. As we know, these are less-than-perfect events conducted in a near-perfect environment.  

McKenzie and the rest of the front office will use these events as a check for the work they have been doing on this class for the last 12 months. Anything that supports the reports gets a check mark, but anything that doesn’t will be checked on video just to make sure the scouting staff didn’t miss anything.

Del Rio and his coaching staff have been busy getting to know the players on the Raiders, so this could be among their first encounters with many of these prospects. There could be a propensity to fall in love with a prospect based on their combine numbers and see something that isn’t there when they get a chance to review their video.

Even though the coaches know as well as anyone that combine events don’t correlate to NFL success, they can still suffer...

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