Fact Or Fiction: The Reggie McKenzie Pre-Draft Presser Edition

Reggie McKenzie talked to members of the media on Friday afternoon and while he didn’t offer a lot, he still made a few statements worth discussing.

Known to be mostly a straight shooter, McKenzie offered a few details about the Raiders offseason that were at least a little suspect.

So here you go. Fact or fiction: Reggie McKenzie edition.

On the release of Marquette King, McKenzie essentially pointed to King’s contract as the reason the Raiders went another direction.

Not buying this one.

Yes, King’s contract made the decision easier, but this move had more to do with King’s antics – and Jon Gruden’s disinterest in dealing with them.

McKenzie gave King a healthy contract before the 2016 season and King lived up to it with his play on the field.

McKenzie took a high road of sorts with his explanation and that’s fine.

On his relationship with head coach Jon Gruden, McKenzie said the process is going very well and that they are drawn to similar players.

This is probably true.

Both place a premium on hard-working no-nonsense type players.

When he first arrived in Oakland, some thought McKenzie placed too much of a premium on character before talent. Gruden will be of similar mind.

McKenzie won’t bring an ego into personnel decisions and he was listening to his coaches long before Gruden walked through the door. That dynamic should continue to run smoothly.

Once upon a time, McKenzie made us believe his draft board dictated all the picks.

He said it again on Friday, but it would be naive to believe the Raiders aren’t walking away from the first two rounds without addressing positions of need.

McKenzie won’t reach for a pick, but he also isn’t mindlessly following a 200-player big board. The D.J. Hayden pick essentially squashed that narrative in Reggie’s second year with the Raiders.

That’s not a knock on McKenzie. It’s just common sense – and Reggie has plenty of it.

So what direction is the Raiders draft train heading?

For all the talk about the Raiders addressing significant needs in free agency and having freedom to take the best player available in the draft, there are still whopping holes in the roster.

The two scenarios that make the most sense for the Raiders are to either trade out of their 10th pick or take an impact defender like Roquan Smith.

It’s hard to imagine Gruden not loving a player like Smith, but it also seems irresponsible for the Raiders to leave the draft without a top offensive tackle.

Oh, and a top defensive tackle.

With NaVorro Bowman only a phone call away, the Raiders can survive (gasp!) without drafting a middle linebacker right now.

That luxury doesn’t exist at defensive tackle and offensive tackle is only a little misfortune away from becoming a catastrophe this year and next.

Can’t wait to see how this plays out.

twitter: @raidersbeat