It’s not often that a rookie player means everything to the franchise that drafts him. Usually, a rookie is brought in to fill a gap or as backup to the primary starter, but that’s not the case for Khalil Mack. So much is riding on Khalil Mack’s success, that failure is not an option. The Oakland Raiders need to return to the victory circle in order to justify so many things that are bigger than the game itself. Things like: obtaining a new stadium, value of the franchise, and doing it for Raider Nation.
Let’s face it, Raider Nation has been faithful to their team through thick and thin, and we, as fans, embrace our team no matter what the cost. Although it can be extremely frustrating at times, we, the fans, know that our team is destined for greatness once again. This is where Khalil Mack comes in. He, more or less, is going to be viewed as the savior of the franchise, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
I don’t care what Houston Texans fans have to say about this, the Oakland Raiders acquired the best, that’s right, the best defensive player in the 2014 NFL Draft. This versatile LB/pass rusher will be utilized in various packages to get the most out of his skill set. He’s a beast of a specimen who is ready to take his next step as an NFL player. If there were any questions as to his mindset going into Training Camp, look no further than his blog post on MMQB.SI.COM.
Mack is very humble, and he understands what his role is going to be. Here are a couple of his comments that I believe highlight how ready he is to make his mark:
A few weeks ago, I was out on the field for one of my first practices with the Raiders, and I looked around the huddle: LaMarr Woodley. Antonio Smith. Justin Tuck. Charles Woodson. Pat Sims. That’s when it hit me: Wow, I’m going to be on the field with these guys. It was kind of surreal. It wasn’t too long ago that I was waiting to find out where I was going to be drafted, and now I’m part of this team, working toward a common goal. It’s extremely crazy, but I’m crazy enough to think it’s normal.
I’ve been taking it day by day, learning a lot, keeping my ears open and knowing that I don’t know it all. That’s how I got to this point. I only had one scholarship offer coming out of high school, probably because I only played one year of football in high school.
After returning from the NFLPA Rookie Premier:
Only after all of those experiences did I finally get to spend some time with my new teammates in Oakland for organized team activities and minicamps. The opportunity I have with an historic franchise is a special one. The fan base here is incredibly supportive and there is certainly merit to the traditions and mystique of Raider Nation. We have a good team, and I feel fortunate to learn from players I admire and respect. I want to learn a lot about what it takes to be successful and the work I put into honing my craft can only be enhanced by what I can learn from the coaches and players around me. It takes a tremendous amount of personal responsibility and commitment to succeed both on and off the field in the NFL and I am confident that my teammates and I can achieve great things.
About a week ago, Just Blog Baby’s Editor, Chase Ruttig, posted a piece regarding Khalil Mack’s writing opportunity with MMQB. In Chase’s post, he highlights some of the top ten things that Khalil Mack would like to do in his rookie season. Here is the link to Chase’s post: http://justblogbaby.com/2014/07/07/khalil-mack-guest-writes-peter-kings-mmqb-column/
I’ve been around as an Oakland Raiders fan for a long time, since 1972. I have heard, read, and observed a plethora of NFL players as they have progressed through life. Some wore the Silver and Black and others didn’t. Some of these players were extremely good, others not so much. One thing I have learned over that time is this, a player’s presence on the field and off the field speaks volumes to how good they can or will become. It also defines them.
Khalil Mack exudes an aire of greatness on the field and when addressing the media, or when he is writing a blog about himself and the Oakland Raiders. He is extremely intelligent, and he understands how important it is for him to learn how to become a player in the NFL, both on and off the field. He embraces his role with the Raiders, with his teammates, and with Raider Nation. Khalil Mack embraces his role as an Oakland Raider, and it will translate onto the field of battle when the season begins. I can’t wait to watch him sack his first NFL quarterback, whether it’s in the pre-season or regular season. It will be special, and I get to bear witness to his success. It’s an awesome time to be a Raiders fan, and the greatness of the franchise is returning. Go Raiders!
If you haven’t read the post by Khalil Mack, this is the link: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/07/07/khalil-mack-raiders-monday-morning-qb/