Mike Mayock explains draft picks from Clemson, Bama

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Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock made the most of his time attending the National Championship Game between Clemson and Alabama, and it showed during the 2019 NFL Draft.

Of the Raiders' nine selections, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and safety Trayvon Mullen were on the field for Clemson, while running back Josh Jacobs played for Alabama.

Needless to say, the matchup between the two collegiate powerhouses left an indelible impression on Oakland's GM.

"I felt it on the field before the game, these were the two best college programs in the country and have been for several years now," Mayock said, via Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. "And when you walk around on the field before the game and watch these guys warm up, and you do your body types, you're taking notes -- they look like two NFL teams. I said it to somebody, I don't remember who, and I remember thinking to myself, 'Man, if you just draft from these two teams, you're gonna do well, forget the rest of the country.'

"I didn't consciously set out to make that happen. But we got more and more impressed with these Clemson kids, as we met them, as people. We loved the Alabama tailback. And it worked out pretty well from our perspective."

The Raiders made a splash during the league's annual three-day selection process as the team rebuilds under Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden, but the selection of Ferrell as the fourth overall pick of the draft certainly proved a surprise.

Well, that is to everyone else except Mayock, who previously served as a draft analyst with NFL Network.

"I don't think I would've been as surprised as a lot of the world," Mayock told Breer when asked how he would've reacted to the selection of Ferrell if he sat in his former seat. "At the end of the day, people act like the thought wouldn't occur to me to trade down and still get Cle. He was our guy, OK? And whether we got him at 4, 8, 10, it didn't matter. He was gonna be our guy.

"He's a foundation player. And even more importantly, he's a three-down defensive end who can stick his hand in the dirt and play on run downs and pass downs. He's not a guy who's going to be a designated pass rusher. He's in there on every snap. And he's gonna set the tone for us, as far as these young guys are concerned. I couldn't wait to get to that pick."

Meanwhile, Mayock appears more than comfortable with the selection of four players from Clemson and Alabama.

It was a unique approach to the draft, but it comes with a cautionary tale.

Not all players from the two programs enjoy sustainable success in the NFL -- Trent Richardson, Stephone Anthony, Martavis Bryant, AJ McCarron and Eddie Lacy, among others, come to recent mind -- so the jury is out on whether Oakland's strategy pays off in the long run.

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