GREEN BAY – There is an unwritten rule in the NFL that you don’t raid your former employer’s staff when you move on to bigger and better things elsewhere. And at the very least, if you’re a personnel guy, you wait until after the NFL Draft to do it.
Now that the draft is over, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is making staff changes, and it’s certainly possible that he could take a Green Bay Packers scout or two to help him in his rebuilding efforts with the Silver and Black.
Less than 48 hours after the draft ended, McKenzie began his overhaul of the Raiders’ scouting departmentMonday by firing longtime scout Jon Kingdom, according to the NFL Network. Kingdom’s departure was likely in the offing for quite a while.
Kingdom was Oakland’s college scouting director and had been with the organization for 33 years. Kingdon was a top adviser to owner Al Davis, who died in October and had made all the football decisions for the franchise before his passing.
ESPN New York recently reported that New York Jets and college scouting director Joey Clinkscale were likely to mutually part ways and that Clinkscale could leave for a lateral move in Oakland. McKenzie and Clinkscale have been friends since childhood and played together at the University of Tennessee.
Perhaps the most logical candidate from the Packers staff would be Shaun Herock, the Packers’ longest-tenured college scout in terms of continuous service. Herock and McKenzie both joined the Packers scouting staff full-time under GM Ron Wolf in 1994, with Herock scouting college prospects and McKenzie working as a pro personnel assistant under Wolf. McKenzie was promoted to director of pro personnel in 1997 and to director of football operations in 2008.
Herock just completed his 19th season in Green Bay and his 11th year as the team’s assistant director of college scouting. Herock scouts the Midwest region and was given the additional duties in the management of the club’s college scouting operations in 2001. The 41-year-old Herock’s father, Ken, played for the Raiders and Davis in the 1960s and spent seven years as the team’s personnel director. Some have speculated that Wolf's son, Eliot, could also be a candidate to join McKenzie in Oakland.
There have been no indications or reports that McKenzie has asked for permission to speak with anyone on the Packers' scouting staff at this point.
At the NFL Meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. in March, McKenzie said he planned to model his scouting staff after the model Wolf put in place in Green Bay – the same one that GM Ted Thompson follows today. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing someone in from Green Bay to help him.
“It’s always a gentlemen’s agreement not to kill your old team in personnel, but you’re trying to upgrade what you have, you’re trying to implement your system,” McKenzie explained. “That’s why I spoke to some of the coaches at Green Bay (as head-coaching candidates). It’s the familiarity and what they bring.
“Even the scouts, usually you don’t make moves there until after the draft anyway; you can’t do anything. I’m not going to get caught tampering with another team. But yes, you’d love to have that situation where you could get your guys.”
As for whether he’ll model himself as a GM after Wolf, Thompson or former coach/GM Mike Sherman, McKenzie said he’s learned from all three men.
“I know how Ted did it, I know how Coach Mike did it, and I definitely know how Ron did it. I’ll just put the little McKenzie touch on it,” McKenzie said. “It’s going to be a little bit of all of those guys. Now, what percentage I can put on Ted and what percentage on Ron and what percentage on coach Sherman, it’s hard to say. But I’ve gotten stuff from all of them, to be honest with you.”
Asked if that means he might someday trade up for a punter in the third round, McKenzie laughed.
“I made that trade,” McKenzie said of the 2004 deal under Sherman that led to the selection of Ohio State punter B.J. Sander. “I called the team and made sure we could get up there. I didn’t know who we were trading for. But I got the pick.”
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