Khalil Mack has only practiced for the Oakland Raiders in unpadded rookie minicamp, OTA, and mandatory minicamp sessions, but that hasn’t stopped the organization from gushing over the highly prized linebacker who dropped right into the Raiders hands with the fifth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft this spring.
According to Jerry McDonald of Inside Bay Area reports are surfacing that Mack has been so impressive that the franchise is already exceeding expectations to the point that the Raiders feel they have a player who is even better than the comparisons that have already been made tying Mack to Denver Broncos Von Miller in terms of an NFL skillset.
Privately, there’s a sense among coaches, the scouts and front office that Mack is even better than the Raiders initially believed. That’s saying a lot, considering general manager Reggie McKenzie made him the No. 5 pick in the draft and coach Dennis Allen compared him to Denver outside linebacker Von Miller, one of the NFL’s elite pass rushers.
“Sometimes he moves like a defensive back,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “It’s crazy for a guy like that to be doing that. He has a motor that’s relentless. As a tackle, you stay on him until you hear the whistle or hear the crowd cheer.”
Free safety Charles Woodson took notice of Mack’s ability at 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds to bend at the waist and get under tackles coming off the edge as well as change of direction.
“It will be great to see him in action when it really goes down,” Woodson said. “We all have high hopes for him, because he’s only going to make us better as a team.”
Mack has also practiced in a variety of different roles in the Raiders linebacker positions this month, rotating through different positions that have showed off his versatility, something that has likely driven the Raiders excitement over Mack through the roof as much as it has. Charles Woodson may have made the best point in discussing Mack however as the highly regarded future of the Raiders defense hasn’t even got to showcase himself at full speed yet. Whether his performances once the pads are put on increase or decrease the gushing over an impressive prospect remains to be seen, but for now the Raiders feel that their first round draft pick can contribute right away. Based on the team’s checkered recent history with top picks, that is a positive sign that Raiders fans should feel relieved about for now.