Report: Jon Gruden Leaning On His Own Personnel Staff

As Jon Gruden continues to make himself comfortable in Oakland, a dynamic to watch will be his relationship with the Raiders personnel department.

When Reggie McKenzie joined the Raiders in 2012, he initially worked with the previous scouting department, but replaced many of them after his first draft.

Could a similar dynamic play out with Gruden after the 2018 draft?

The Athletic’s John Middlekauff believes it could already be happening.

According to Middlekauff, Gruden has been leaning “exclusively” on his own personnel staff throughout free agency:

“From my sources, Gruden leaned exclusively on his personnel folks and not McKenzie’s scouting staff for the moves that were made during free agency. He knows exactly what he wants, and relies on his coaching staff. Hard to blame him.”

“I’ve also heard some of the personnel people in the Raiders building are a little nervous how it will play out after the draft. Will Gruden reshape the department? We know one thing, with Gruden, things are unlikely to stay the same. I don’t think anything will happen to McKenzie, he’ll stay as the GM in title, but obviously not in reality. He’s a made man with Mark Davis. He’s earned that right by saving the franchise with the Mack and Carr picks.”

Given that Raiders owner Mark Davis is paying his head coach $100 million, Gruden will generally do what he wants. If that means turning the personnel department upside down, it very well could happen.

Davis would probably like to see Gruden stay with the personnel staff he inherited, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

In fact, if Gruden is already leaning more on his own guys, there is a good chance it won’t happen.

twitter: @raidersbeat


28 thoughts on “Report: Jon Gruden Leaning On His Own Personnel Staff

    1. Reggie also had a lack of picks to start off. His only questionable first rounder was Hayden. Reaching on a guy recovering from newe death was not wise when we needed immediate contributors. We’ll find out for sure about Cooper this season. Conley got injured in OTAs but when he played showed he’s going to be good. He doesn’t have any other 1st rounders except Mack. Ellis was a solid pick in later rounds as was Letavius Murray. I’m not defending Reggie because he doesn’t need to be protected. He is reviving a franchise who had no picks and no money. He has rebuilt it into a situation that a guy like Jon Gruden is happy with. If they can fill some needs inside of the Dline we could have a solid team. I believe coaching was a big issue. Norton is a solid dude but not a good coach. Also, changing from Musgrave as offensive coordinator was the biggest issue. What’s great about Reggie is that every year they release guys and there is never dead money. That’s not easy.

    2. Josephs, Conley, and Obi may turn out to be real nice picks. In their limited time on the field Conley and Obi looked good. Especially Conley. DJ is the only first rounder that didn’t pan out but RM has missed badly on a few second and third rounders. Ward hasn’t shown a thing and Calhoun and Walford never did much. He has had good luck in the later rounds and with UDFAs. This draft is extraordinarily critical to the Raiders who can il afford to mis in the early rounds this year.

  1. Grudens Message is ALL Business this time and He’s Driving the Dump Truck of Success, I like what’s happening and on April 9th he can finally meet the entire Team at OTA’s?

  2. Though I like Gruden as a coach, his records on player acquisitions during his days in Tampa are much to be desired. Hopefully this year’s trend is only for the new coaching staff to install their system and will sign younger players whom many of us can agree next year on.

    1. Exactly. I truly believes that’s what got him fired in Tampa. He couldn’t find a QB and torpedoed their personnel.

  3. I love Big Reg and the way he handled all the previous bloated contracts and finacial problems thrown at he but he and his staff are not very good in free agency or the draft. The Mack and Carr picks were given to them, what else other than cooper can you say were notable selections ?

    1. Gabe Jackson, Jelly Ellis, TJ Carrie (and yes he was a baller and we should have kept him), Karl Joseph, Donald Penn, Jalen Richard, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Mario Edwards (if he could stay healthy). Those are all pretty decent picks or pick-ups.

    2. Murray was taking in the 6th rd, TJ Carrie was a 6th rd draft pick I believe as well. Osmele, Penn, & Hudson, and Marshawn Lynch(retired) were acquired through free agency and all have been pro bowlers. Jalen Richard – undrafted, Gareon Conley looks to be excellent if on the field and Melifonwu looks to have great potential as a second round pick… I’d be patient… This team is a lot better since the joke that it was in 2014.

    3. Kevin, saying Reggie is not very good in free agency or the draft is not true. Many of the players he selected are still in the league including his worst first rounder Hayden. If Reggie were fired he’d have a job in 2 seconds. Another notable selection is Ellis. He’s good later in the draft. We have to see what happens with Conley as well. But, Regfie went his first two years with a lack of picks. And people who say he was given Carr and Mack is ridiculous. Nobody else picked them. Mack might have been easy but waiting on Carr till the second was solid. Plus, if it was a no brainer how come nobody else picked Carr? Also, what about Reggie building a dominant offensive line with Osemele, Hudson? Penn was also really good. Can’t rebuild an entire football team in just a few years.

    4. How about the entire offensive line that was a top unit in the league? Then there’s Crabtree, Patterson, King…all top notch weapons not released for performance reasons, Only because they’re not Gruden guys.

  4. My dreams are coming true right before my eyes. Loser McKenzie is nearly on his way out the door! Yeah, he cleaned up a salary cap problem when he arrived, but what GM couldn’t just take a chainsaw to the roaster and eat bad contracts for 2 yrs to straighten out the books? He blew the 2012 and 2013 drafts so bad that not a single player is left on the roster. 2014 was a very nice… given. He drafted Cooper #1 overall in 2015……what other position would he draft given he just landed a star QB and lights-out defensive end? Too obvious, but credit given for the pick. The rest of that draft is trash, outside of a busted up Mario Edwards Jr. 2016 is more trash, albeit with 1 semi-decent starter in Karl Joseph. Jihad Ward and Shilique Calhoun are worthless and likely to be cut soon. He TRADES UP for Connor Cook….?? And the rest of the draft is full of depth guys only. 2017 is the death knell for him, I think. He reaches for Conley, where he could have been A LOT safer with other players (Tra’Davious White! King, etc.) Then he turns around and drafts like Al Davis, taking the combine hero Obi Melifonwu, instead of a safer pick (Zach Cunningham, MLB, perhaps?). Vanderdoes had major questions about his weight, desire and health coming out of college, but, yeah, let’s blow a pick on him. Another Shilique Calhoun, imo.
    Those are just his poor drafts…… take a look at his coaching moves (i.e. Dennis Allen), QB moves (trading for Matt Schaub, Matt Flynn, etc.), questionable free agent signings. I will give him credit for Osemele and Hudson, however…..excellent signings there…………He’s not a completely incompetent GM, by any means but, if nothing else, he needs to be locked out of the war room. Gruden might not have the best track record (over 10 yrs ago), but he seriously CAN’T be any worse than RM.

    1. Reggie built that 12-4 roster from the ground up. We all know it wasn’t Jack Del Rio’s stellar x’s and o’s that got the team to that record. His first 3 years were tear down and rebuild years with hardly any picks and a massive salary cap deficit forcing his hand to scrubtasctic bargain bin signings. You can criticize some of the drafts if you want, but the big man made $1 out of $.15 and yes, Gruden ABSOLUTELY has a worse record as a GM. It’s on Gruden to prove he can do better and so far, it’s been underwhelming.

    2. Ok Mr Del Rio… question is why didn’t you demand Getting Ruben Foster when he was right there for the taking? (eventhough we know what happened with him recently) Why is it that Nobody values the positions that we needed so very badly (i.e: LB, OT, RB and DT) high in the draft? Joe Mixon was right there for the taking and in Musgrave’s power block scheme would have been the perfect fit. Star Lotuleile who was in the draft before you joined the Raiders was passed over twice and is a pro bowler. All those LB’s who kept getting hurt and were put in positions that they weren’t good at smh. I know you as the head coach had just as much influence on who this team picked as Mckenzie did. The defensive end position should never have been an issue…why, because Jack Crawford, David Bass and another guy I can’t remember could’ve filled in those spots. The Middle Linebacker spot should have been Nate Stuper’s three years after he was drafted in the 7th round out of Penn State. An Undrafted free agent MLB by the name of Carlos Fields…cut when he was clearly ballin and making plays. Desean jackson was cut by chip kelly why didn’t the raiders go after him….that was your deep threat that could’ve complimented Cooper real well.

  5. Gruden always has preferred veteran players. It was that way his first trip in Oakland. Young players will have to earn his trust. I do not see the big deal being made about these signings. All of them are obvious place holder signings until team can draft guys he wants and develop them.

  6. You can tell when someone writes an article that is not privy to all the information. The writer is talking apples and oranges. Relying on his coaching staff for free agency is different than relying on the same people for the draft. Gruden has not done one contract. That’s strictly McKenzie. Essentially nothing has changed from what Mark Davis already said. Gruden picks his players and Reggie goes and finds and signs them. Reggie and Gruden will rely on their scouting department for the draft. Whether picks have worked out is one thing but picking consensus best player is different. Reggie has reached a bit but usually matches exactly with Pro football focus grades and similar choices to guys like Mike Mayock. People underestimate Reggie’s brilliance with the salary cap and contracts. Coaches who run personnel as well outside Nee England usually get in financial issues. That’s because they want the talent no matter the cost. Reggie is usually spot on with the value of players. Even if Gruden used his coaching staff for free agency does not mean those guys will be making decisions in the draft. Only issue might be if Reggie recommends a player but Gruden likes another. Still does not change. Gruden picks his players and Reggie signs them. You made it sound like Reggie is out the door when in fact Reggie is still key contributor with his knowledge of contract terms. It’s an underrated part of the process. Reggie has missed on picks but so have just about every other team.

  7. I think Reggie gets blamed for the previous staff’s inability to develop or place players in a position to be successful. Look at Sean Smith’s and Bruce Irvin’s production after the Norton was ousted. I find it hard to believe that majority of our picks are bad picks. There has to be a level of blame placed on the coaching staff. Jihad Ward was definitely a reach but I blame the staff for not maximizing the potential of some of the other players brought in.

    1. Totally agree with you CJ about the coaching staff of last few yrs. Was player development forgotten ? It sure wasn’t a priority or did I miss it .

  8. What’s funny is Reggie put together a roster talented enough to get to the Superbowl. The coaching staff squandered it. Name a GM who is crushing every draft and free agency? Not possible given salary cap and parody

  9. If Smith is taken in round 1 you know Gruden is running the whole show. Reggie thought it was early getting an LB in round 5 last year. He doesn’t realize that ythey have to cover passes as well as stop the run.

  10. Well what has that scouting staff really done in the last 5 years?? It’s time for a change.

  11. Can anyone name a player Gruden drafted(not Al Davis) that had a successful career in the NFL especially in his Tampa days where he had a lot of control??

  12. The only thing I know about Gruden is that he loves his QB’s so he will have like 6 of em on the roster lOL!

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