Jon Gruden defends Raiders' draft pick choices

Have an opinion on the Oakland Raiders' draft through three rounds so far? Better keep it to yourself, because Jon Gruden doesn't really care to hear it.

The new Raiders head man received the lowest grade in the league, a C (tied with the Seahawks), through two days from NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter, and has been widely panned by draft pundits elsewhere for his four picks on Thursday and Friday.

Gruden's response?

"Well, I don't really hear all the skeptics," Gruden said, via The Mercury News. "I have a cell phone too that works. I got a lot of coaches and friends in the NFL that are ecstatic about the picks that we made. And I apologize to people that don't like our picks and that are skeptical and I also realize we have to prove that we did the right thing."

Gruden's first haul since returning to coach the Raiders so far has included raw offensive tackles Kolton Miller (No. 15 overall) and Brandon Parker (No. 65 overall), unheralded defensive tackle P.J. Hall (No. 57 overall), and embattled pass rusher Arden Key (No. 87 overall).

The draft is fickle, and "losers" on draft night can very easily be winners when games count in the fall. Nobody knows this better than Gruden, who emphasized to reporters in his Friday news conference that Oakland is confident in the moves its made (which included trading forSteelers wideout Martavis Bryant) so far this weekend.

"We need guys that can block, and we addressed that today," Gruden said. "And we have a quarterback I think that's one hell of a football player and it's a priority to protect him. He's been hurt the last two years and it bothers me. We got a big receiver, who can jump up over you and a guy that can run right by you and he's going to add a dimension to our team that we have not had here.

"And we needed an inside pass rusher and we needed an edge rusher, a third rusher potentially with Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack and we've got to prove we did well, but with every pick comes skeptics."

Gruden will get a few more cracks at turning his draft doubters into believers Saturday. Oakland holds six picks -- including one in the fourth round, two in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh -- on the draft's final day.

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