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NFL insiders believe general manager needs time fix mess he inherited

Reggie McKenzie has been Raiders general manager for just 15? months. He has never had the authority to make a first-round NFL draft pick, or even a second-rounder.

So is it too soon to call the 2013 draft a defining moment for the soft-spoken former NFL linebacker?

Not necessarily. This is, after all, the National Football League, where patience is measured in minutes and loyalty is as rare as a fullback who carries the ball.

"Well, it's the start of a new regime, and the first step on the road, hopefully, to championship football," said Bill Polian, the long time Bills and Colts GM who now does studio analysis for ESPN. "Last year was a situation where he had to come in and essentially dismantle an organization that had fallen on awfully hard times. He was hamstrung by the (salary) cap and by the number of choices he had. He did the best he could."

Indeed, just about everyone would give McKenzie a pass for the Raiders' 4-12 season in 2012. Backed into a financial corner — the Raiders were $31 million over the cap — he couldn't afford any prominent free agents. And the wheeling and dealing of late owner Al Davis and former coach Hue Jackson had left Oakland without a draft pick until No. 95 overall, deep into the third round.


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