Von Hutchins helps rebuild the Raiders as pro scout

Published 12:26 am Sunday, August 7, 2016

NATCHEZ — Following the passing of legendary owner Al Davis in 2012, the Oakland Raiders front office made a call to Reggie McKenzie.

Oakland hired McKenzie as the team’s new general manager. McKenzie then made a call of his own. He reached out to a former intern for the Green Bay Packers, where McKenzie previously worked as director of player personnel. That intern was former Cathedral High School football standout Von Hutchins.

“I sent quite a few teams my resume after (my career), letting them know my thought was in player personnel,” Hutchins said. “Reggie and a few other teams gave me a shout back, and I was able to intern in Green Bay during training camp for about (three weeks).”

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After McKenzie accepted the GM position in Oakland, Hutchins got his gig as a pro scout, where his job includes scouting potential talent in addition to administrative duties of day-to-day roster transactions.

The road to rebuild the Raiders was a long one. At the time, the Raiders owed millions of dollars in dead money — money owed to players no longer on roster — and had no draft picks until the final pick of the third round.

Lately, it seems the new regime is finding picks that stick and transform into franchise players. Hutchins included names such as offensive lineman Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper as players that will build the foundation of a competitive Oakland team.

“We’ve kind of built this team up from salary cap hell,” Hutchins said. “(We tried to build) a team that we figured could contend for the division and the playoff spot … It was tough early on, but once we got out of the salary cap hole, we’ve been able to hit some home runs on our draft picks.”

Hutchins said the “sports hotbed” that is the Bay-area market supplied support as the team tried to transform into a contender.

The Raiders’ future in Oakland is still unclear, however. Ranked as the 31st most-valuable team in the league by Forbes, rumors swirl about Oakland moving out of the Bay area, which it has call home since moving from Los Angeles in 1995.

Hutchins said although he is unsure what the future might hold he is confident the Raiders will still receive support from their diehard fans, as well as whatever new market the team might make its destination.

“The Raiders’ logo speaks for itself no matter if we’re in L.A., Oakland, Las Vegas, San Antonio,” Hutchins said. “Our fans will travel; they’re loyal fans.”

Before his time in Oakland, Hutchins was a defensive back with the Colts, Texans and Falcons. In 2003, Hutchins played 13 games during his senior year at Ole Miss and tied the team lead with four interceptions.

Hutchins offered advice to young players trying to make it to the next level. He said, during his playing career, there was no social media to post workout videos or highlights. The key for him was realizing the work he put into making himself a better player wasn’t for show. He saw it as an investment.

“For me it was understanding every day was a grind,” Hutchins said. “We live in the day and age of social media and people posting workout videos, so everyone can see that they’re working. No one saw when I was working.

“There’s no need to talk about it; be about it.”