Barring any trades, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie won't make his initial selection in the NFL draft until late Saturday night, April 27, after 94 players have gone off the board.

At which time McKenzie, the first person other than Al Davis to be running the Raiders' draft room since 1963, expects to be a nervous wreck.

"Coach Davis, this has been his deal since the Raiders were the Raiders," McKenzie told reporters Wednesday at a predraft news conference. "I am the new guy. This is my first time drafting after a legend has been drafting for the Raiders for so long. So it's huge. But I'm excited about it and looking forward to it."

McKenzie wasn't about to tip his hand on what players interest him with the five selections that begin with the final pick of the third round, No. 95 overall. Oakland also picks in the fourth (No. 129), has two selections in the fifth (Nos. 148 and 168) and a selection in the sixth (No. 189).

He left open the possibility of trading for an earlier pick in either the first or second round, but noted, "If I have to give them my first born, it's not going to happen."

McKenzie has upgraded the Raiders personnel department in terms of computers and technology, a process he said has gone "much better than I expected."

The longtime, hard-line Davis philosophy of height, weight and speed projections will be blended with an emphasis on on-field production and a willingness and zeal to learn.


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"You have to make sure they really love the game and make sure that they're good football players," McKenzie said. "Then all of the other stuff -- how they test, how they play, what kind of skills they have -- that all plays a part in how you evaluate them."

"Combine warriors" need not apply, nor do those with blindingly fast 40-yard dash times whose primary strength is running in a straight line.

Unlike Davis, McKenzie doesn't want to use picks in future drafts as trade material.

Until Oakland picked up three compensatory selections this season, it had picks in only the fifth and sixth rounds because of deals involving quarterback Carson Palmer, linebacker Aaron Curry and draft-day deals last year to get in position to select cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke and tackle Joseph Barksdale.

"I do not want to trade future picks -- especially high ones," McKenzie said.

McKenzie is a firm believer in taking the best available player, rather than reaching for a lesser talent at a position of need.

"We need some depth, regardless, to compete and hopefully win jobs," McKenzie said. "And that's what we're targeting. When we say best player, whether it's D-line, O-line, tight end, it doesn't matter. We want to get a good player."

McKenzie said the Raiders will put together a draft board with number grades and that he will remain faithful to that board, with no exceptions.

"Once we've made the decision, we're not going to think back and start listening to a whole bunch of coaches or scouts,'' McKenzie said. "If the board tells us to do one thing, that's the way we're going to do it. And everybody will know that going in. That's why you spend all this time setting the board."

  • Next week's voluntary minicamp will be a crucial one for quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who the Raiders got in the supplemental draft with this year's 2012 third-round pick. McKenzie said he hopes Pryor is a viable option to be the backup to Palmer.

    "Hopefully our quarterback coach and offensive coordinator and staff can work him and see if we can get him rolling," McKenzie said. "It's going to be a constant evaluation, but they need to find out how good he is and how good he can be."

  • Scratch the Raiders as a potential candidate for HBO's "Hard Knocks" series. One trait McKenzie shares with Davis is the desire to keep things in-house.

    "I like Raider business to stay Raider business," McKenzie said. "Players and coaches, act a little different when TV cameras are rolling."