Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie spent most of his front office career as a member of the Green Bay Packers, so it is no surprise that McKenzie is still known for his ties to the NFC North franchise and several of their players that McKenzie at one time helped scout and draft from time to time.
That also makes it hard for McKenzie to avoid comparing his current players to those he once helped acquire as a member of the Packers front office, including comparing his current first round pick from the 2014 Draft in linebacker Khalil Mack to one of the Packers most recent draft day successes at linebacker from during McKenzie’s stay in Wisconsin: Clay Matthews.
From Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle:
There weren’t any “wow” plays from rookie linebacker Khalil Mack on Sunday, the first day players wore pads, but he is drawing some pretty good comparisons from important training-camp observers.
“He’s reminded me of Clay Matthewsfrom Day 1,” Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “He’s one of those guys that knows how to set the edge, and he has length and power and some tools to rush the passer.
“He’s got that first step, he can bend, he’s relentless”
“That’s what Clay was, you don’t have tell him to go sic ‘em,” McKenzie said. “He just innately does that. Khalil is that same way.”
The comparison is good almost to the pound – Matthews, a four-time Pro Bowler, is 6-foot-3, 255 pounds and Mack is 6-3, 252. But again, it was the heart and not the measurables that McKenzie noticed first.
“It’s hard to find guys that are skillful that have that innate ability,” he said.
It is interesting to see McKenzie compare Mack to Matthews, but it is a common tradition to attach any big name to a highly regarded prospect. After all Dennis Allen compared Mack to Von Miller not long ago as well, suitable comparisons for a fifth overall pick who was considered the top linebacker in the 2014 draft class. We will see Mack’s on-field potential right away, but if he can be nearly as good as the players he is drawing comparisons with the Raiders will have their best first round pick in over a half decade.