When the Oakland Raiders selected linebacker Khalil Mack with their first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the team was hard pressed not to show their excitement. Now, that Mack has gone through the Raiders' Organized Team Activities and mandatory mini-camp, that excitement continues to grow. Both teammates and coaches have lauded Mack for his talents and for good reason.
Mack was drafted to come to Oakland and make an impact right away. The team is already working him at strong side linebacker with the inside track to start in week one. There is some much Mack brings to the table for the Raiders. He possesses excellent pass rushing skills and has coverage ability. His goal is to make an impact for the Raiders in his first season.
“I expect myself to come in and do what I can to make an impact on the team, in any way I can,” Mack said. “Whether it’s playing on special teams, whether it’s being a pass rusher or whether it’s dropping back in coverage. I want to be able to make an impact on the football game.”
He is capable of making that impact, but it will not be achieved without preparation. There is so much for rookies to learn before they are comfortable at the next level. That process is in the infant stages presently. Mack will continue that development process in training camp and the preseason. For now, he is ahead of the game and focused on continuing to work.
“It’s a challenge, and I’m open to the challenge,” Mack said. “I’m trying to go out there every day and work on something that they want me to work on, and get better at it. And try not to make the same mistakes; that’s my biggest thing. I try to go out there and do what I can to make plays and be in the right position. That’s all they’re trying to do; put me in the right position to make plays.”
One of the greatest assets the Raiders have available for Mack is the veteran leadership brought in via free agency. Throughout OTAs and mini-camp, players have been talking about the positive effects of leaders like Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Matt Schaub, Donald Penn, and many others. Mack has taken full advantage of those outlets, especially Tuck.
“No doubt,” Mack said. “You have a lot of knowledge out there on the field, with a lot of veteran players out there. It would be dumb for me not to ask questions, especially knowing the skill level that they play with, and that they’re pretty much the best in the game when it comes to pass rushing, so I have to ask those questions.”
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