They finally got it right. The Raiders selected linebacker Khalil Mack in the NFL Draft and all seem to pleased. It’s been a long time since Oakland drafted a linebacker in the first round. Four years ago, Rolando McClain who is no longer in the NFL was drafted in 2010.
Mack stands 6-foot-3, 251 pounds and maybe the final piece of a puzzle put together in the offseason. The Raiders have not been shy about building a dominant defense. Adding veterans Justin Tuck, Lamar Woodley and Antonio Smith.
“We are very excited with our first pick,” said General Manager Reggie McKenzie. “It was a guy that we had targeted for quite some time, and it was a guy that we are excited to have.”
Mack started all 48 games that he appeared in for Buffalo, recording 327 tackles (186 solos) that included 28.5 sacks. His 16 forced fumbles topped the old major college record of 14 that was shared by Antawn Peek of Cincinnati (2000-02).
After two consecutive years of recording a 4-12 season, the Oakland has put their priority into the defense. Mack impressed both McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen who didn’t hesitate about expressing his expectations with the newest draftee.
“When we started this process, we were totally clear on the fact that we wanted to add some impact players to our football team,” Allen said. “This is an impact player. This guy will have an impact on our football team for the 2014 season. There is no question about that.”
The Raiders were most impressed by the rookie’s ability to drop back in coverage and rush the passer. Mack’s versatility will be an addition to a defense that has proven to dominate in all areas especially last season.
“He can do everything that we’re going to ask him to do,” said Allen. “We’re excited about the versatility. He’s a three-down player. He’s going to be able to do a lot of things that we’re going to ask him to do. He’ll have a huge impact on getting this defense where it needs to be.”