After three long days of the NFL draft we finally get to see what Reggie McKenzie’s vision for this up-coming season is. My goal with this article is not to give out grades because grades are subjective, rather I am going to talk about each prospect including a couple select undrafted free agents, and not only ensure that you know who they are, but also how they can be used by the Raiders. I will give you the pros and cons of each prospect and some other opinions, but I will not bash a prospect. I like every Raiders fan, am very hopeful that every single draft pick Reggie made this year will become a vital part of a Super Bowl winning team, and I think several of these players have that sort of upside.
Round 1: Khalil Mack, OLB Buffalo
Outside of Jadeveon Clowney and Sammy Watkins there is not a single skill position player with a bigger upside than Mack and from what Reggie has said, this is the player that they were targeting from day one. To be honest, I cannot believe he actually fell to five and from a Raiders perspective this is the first of several amazing instances of utter extravagant luck that up until this draft, have never been a part of past Raiders’ draft examinations. We are talking about a 6’3 250 pound human truck with 33.25 inch arm length (Zach Martin, the fourth offensive tackle to go in this draft had 32 7/8 inch arm length) that runs a 4.65 forty yard dash, bends the edge like a seasoned pass rusher in a 3-4 defense, and can cover tight ends and backs like a 4-3 weakside linebacker. This guy does it all and he will not have a set position in this defense. That may seem strange, but his dynamic skill set will allow for a wide ranging role in Dennis Allen’s defense. Finally Dennis has his Von Miller, and as far as I am concerned, this version has a greater upside. He may not be as fast as Von, but he is better at the point of attack. I have always had reservations about Mack, but that does not in any way outweigh his extraordinary upside.
This is a tremendous pick by Reggie and in many ways it was a no brainer. Based on his board the best quarterback was already gone and he thought his next best quarterback could fall. I expect Mack to have an immediate impact for this team and even if he does not produce massive sacks, his skills will allow others to make plays as well.