- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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He is taking over a unique situation.
Unlike most teams that hire a new general manager, the Raiders’ focus will be on improving the current team rather than implementing wholesale roster changes.
The keys for the Raiders -- who are coming off back-to-back 8-8 season and is tied for the longest playoff drought in the NFL -- is better play by quarterback Carson Palmer, the healthy return of running back Darren McFadden and improved play on defense.
Assuming McKenzie sticks with Hue Jackson as coach -- there have been rumblings Jackson could be in trouble (a longshot) -- the Raiders’ first order of business will likely be hiring a defensive coordinator. Chuck Bresnahan and some members of his staff are expected to be fired.
The Raiders have some free agents to address, including running back Michael Bush and safety Tyvon Branch. With Bush likely getting interest as a starter elsewhere, McKenzie may have to decide whether it gives Bush the franchise tag or let him walk.
It is going to be a quiet draft season for McKenzie as the Raiders currently only have fifth and sixth-round picks. They should also get two or three compensatory picks, yet none will be higher than the No. 97 pick near the end of the third round.
While McKenzie may not make a bunch of first-year splashes in Oakland, his team doesn’t really need more than some tweaking and in-house improvements.