Reggie McKenzie's first personal draft addition to the Raiders' roster was not flashy and generated no audible buzz. Highlights are scant.

And you know what? McKenzie could not care less about the reaction to making an offensive lineman his initial choice to represent the new era in Oakland.

"Not too fancy," McKenzie said calmly but confidently. "Not a quarterback or a receiver, (not) somebody who scores touchdowns."

Tony Bergstrom, taken Friday by Oakland with its compensatory pick after the third round of the NFL draft, 95th overall, is a 6-foot-5, 315-pound tackle from Utah who also can play guard and likely will play there for the Raiders.

He spent four seasons with the Utes, during which he started 38 games, mostly at right tackle, and as a senior was a first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection.

This choice says several things about how the Raiders will operate under McKenzie, in his first season as a general manager. One, they won't seek to dazzle. Two, they're not easily seduced by stopwatches or bench presses. Three, they absolutely will trust their homework.

"We stayed true to the board," coach Dennis Allen said.

"When we put 'em on the board," McKenzie added, "we know the guy."

There is a fourth and seemingly more transparent component at work. Taking Bergstrom would seem to imply the McKenzie Raiders subscribe to the theory that it is impossible to play winning football without strength along the offensive line and in the secondary.


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Oakland already has signed two veteran free-agent cornerbacks, Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell, because the defensive backfield was such a liability last season. These two players may not be the answers, probably won't be, but they might provide temporary fixes to an acute need.

Though the Raiders also signed veteran free-agent guard Mike Brisiel, while re-signing veteran guard Cooper Carlisle, Bergstrom definitely addresses a need -- especially as the team moves into the future.

Along with starting left tackle Jared Veldheer (third round, 2010) and starting center Stefen Wisniewski (second round in 2011), Bergstrom gives Oakland three young linemen who should be around for a while. If Joseph Barksdale (third round, 2011) develops at right tackle, make it four.

The flashiest aspect of Bergstrom's resume -- and a statistic that surely caught the eyes of McKenzie and the coaching staff -- is this: 150 knockdowns, resulting in 41 touchdowns, during his 48-game career.

In short, Bergstrom makes a habit of planting defenders into the turf.

"He's tough, with great football intelligence, physical," McKenzie said.

And yet it was clear that McKenzie didn't wish to burden the new guy with expectations, reminding everyone that as much as he believes in Bergstrom, 94 players were taken ahead of him.

It also was clear the G.M. did not enjoy being the last team to join the draft and having to wait so long before swinging into action.

Oakland's first-round pick was sent to Cincinnati last year in the Carson Palmer trade, its second-round pick went to New England last year, allowing the Raiders to draft running back Taiwan Jones and Barksdale. Their third-round pick was sacrificed with the selection of Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the 2011 supplemental draft.

"To see all those names fly off the board ... it was very hard to watch good players you like fall off the board," McKenzie said after having to observe the first three rounds.

It was a very different Raiders draft, in procedure and atmosphere, from the way it had been in the past. One front office member described it as being just as active and exciting as always, but "more relaxed" than it had been under late owner/G.M. Al Davis.

Of course, considering McKenzie's management style is in stark contrast to that of Davis. The new G.M. is as loose and inviting as his predecessor was intense and defiant.

After nearly 20 years in the Green Bay front office, this is McKenzie's first opportunity to carve his own imprint. He does not lack confidence in his ability to evaluate talent.

"Go with your gut," he said. "Our gut tells us (Bergstrom) is the type of football player we want to bring into this building."

There's no knowing how good Bergstrom will be, though he passes the test on paper. As the No. 1 member of McKenzie's first Raiders draft class, though, he enters the team facility as a walking barometer of the new G.M.'s level of acumen.

McKenzie realizes that, has since he took the job in January. And it's OK. He'll live with Bergstrom, a mere third-round pick, and whomever he chooses as the draft concludes Saturday.

After all, he has to start somewhere. And this is just the beginning.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com.