Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Reggie McKenzie is in a tough spot as the general manager of the Oakland Raiders. This is a team that has been in a state of decay for a long time. Poor draft picks and a trade for Carson Palmer are examples of bad decision-making that stand out, but there does seem to be hope on the horizon.
McKenzie has started a slow rebuilding process based on building talent from within the organization and using older, stopgap players to fill the voids while the roster is filled out. The defense alone this year will likely start numerous players, like Mike Jenkins, Kaluka Maiava, Nick Roach and Tracy Porter, with no long-term future in Oakland.
McKenzie seems to have the team headed in the right direction, but will there be time for him to see his vision through? Oakland drafted cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round of the NFL draft, but did not have a second-round pick and took few guys who will be able to contribute immediately.
Oakland did not bring in any of the major prizes in free agency and the rest of the AFC West is clearly making strides to improve right now. The Denver Broncos are a Super Bowl contender, the San Diego Chargers took steps to address serious concerns along the offensive line and the Kansas City Chiefs have overhauled the entire roster.
The point is that the Raiders' "slow and steady" philosophy may take too long for McKenzie to see it all the way through. The NFL is a "what have you done for me lately?" type of league, and the Raiders are at least a few years from being real contenders.