MEXICO CITY (AP) – The Oakland Raiders relocated south for the third day of the NFL draft Saturday. South of the border, that is. Amid sombrero- and lucha libre mask-clad fans, the Raiders announced their late-round picks from Azteca Stadium, where they'll face the Houston Texans on Nov. 21.
The Raiders, one of the NFL's most popular teams in Mexico, gave their fan base in the nation's capital a taste of the NFL with a Fan Fest to kick off their activities prior to the first regular-season game in the country since 2005, when San Francisco played Arizona.
"This is a great event, the Mexican fans are very important for the NFL and it was about time that they showed some support and return with a game," said Yovani Ortega, a 28-year-old fan wearing a silver and black costume and shoulder pads with a couple of plastic skulls on top.
Ortega was not the only one with an eye-catching look. Another man wore a black sombrero with the Raiders logo in the front and a Mexican flag across his back. Another wore a customized lucha libre mask in team colors and with a plastic face mask.
"Everybody in the Raider Nation is very happy with the team for doing an event like this. I've been a fan my whole life, I had a chance to go to the United States to watch them play, but I never thought I would see something like this in my country," said Octavio Vazquez, who was dressed as a gorilla with a team jersey.
Former Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett announced the team's fourth-round pick, quarterback Connor Cook, who will back up starter Derek Carr, eliciting loud cheers from the fans. Former offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy announced the fifth-round pick.
It was the second time an NFL team announced its draft picks outside of the United States. The Jacksonville Jaguars announced their third-day selections from London this year and last year.