After decades and decades of Davis being the one-man power structure for the organization, the Raiders suddenly had to fill that void. Hue Jackson filled it with an eventful but brief stint, as he made trades for Aaron Curry and Carson Palmer at the expense of draft picks in a win-now mindset.
Jackson was the "czar" of the Raiders, for the lack of a better term to describe a head coach who no longer had any higher power to answer to. Sure, there was Mark Davis, but he was never going to check Jackson's influence and control over football aspects of the team.
Although Mark Davis would not overrule Jackson, he would hire a new boss for Jackson to answer to, and that new boss was Reggie McKenzie.
Fast forward to today and McKenzie has put his stamp on the team. The amount of roster turnover has been significant over such a short time and the reconstruction of the roster will continue this week when McKenzie will select his first-ever first-round draft pick.
To make matters more important for McKenzie, it will be the same premium pick (third overall) that the Raiders struggled to use successfully in recent years.
McKenzie can not afford to blow it with his first selection. Another draft bust such as JaMarcus Russell, Rolando McClain or Fabian Washington would be a fatal blow to this organization's chances of being competitive again within the next couple of years.
Even a player who isn't a bust but still fails to reach their full potential—Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Robert Gallery—would be just as crippling to the franchise.
McKenzie is known for his eye for talent. He showed off that eye by finding Miles Burris in the fourth round last year and also snatching Rod Streater as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
Finding diamonds in the rough is always nice, but the pressure will be cranked up on McKenzie this week when the Raiders are on the clock in the first round. Even if the Raiders are able to trade down in the first round, McKenzie will still need to strike gold to separate himself from the errors of recent drafts.