What a night! The draft started and I had goose-bumps. So much anticipation over who the Oakland Raiders would select. If you were watching ESPN’s NFL Draft Special, you heard Ex-Raiders Coach, Jon Gruden, chiming in on how he believed that the Raiders should take Johnny Manziel, and Ray Lewis was campaigning for Khalil Mack. If you were watching NFL Network’s Draft Special, the talk was all about Khalil Mack falling into the Raiders laps, as the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns passed on him. Then, when the Buffalo Bills jumped up to the #4 spot, I thought Mack could be gone, but I was relieved to see them take Sammy Watkins.
As the clock wound closer to the end of the Raiders allotted pick time, I was wondering if there would be another trade? Then, Khalil Mack was announced as the Raiders 1st round pick. I was extremely excited! Yes, the Raiders got the best player available at the #5 spot! Not only that, the Raiders grabbed the best defensive player in the draft. That’s right, I said it, Khalil Mack is the best defensive player available in the draft.
There are those that would say he is too raw. I would agree that he has raw talent. There are those that would say Mack cannot cover receivers. To that I would point out the fact that he intercepted 3 passes in 2013. One of those interceptions came after being clipped by a left tackle. Mack put his hands on the shoulder pads of the left tackle and then jumped up in the air to intercept a pass to the wide receiver.
Yes Mack has much to learn. He is a college player entering into the NFL. However, he is going to be learning from Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, and Kevin Burnett. Not to mention, he will be placed right alongside Sio Moore, and the acquisition of Mack instantly elevates the talent level and youth along the defensive line of the Raiders. As far as I am concerned, this is a win, win, scenario with huge upside.
The Raiders needed a dominant LB who could come in and contribute right away. That player is Khalil Mack. The fact that Justin Tuck is high on Mack really speaks volumes to who he has the potential to become.
One more thing I’d like to mention about Mack is this, his interview directly after being drafted was outstanding. His Major in college was Psychology, wow! This is a very smart kid who is ready to prove himself in the NFL. He will need to rely upon his educational acumen in order to learn the Raiders defense and become a dominant LB. He also has a chip on his shoulder for being shunned by major colleges coming out of High School. He will want to prove himself and quiet the critics. This is the type of player the Oakland Raiders needed for their ball club.