By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 9:32 pm in off-season stuff.
Every NFL team was represented at Pro Day today at Memorial Stadium. And it was clear the player they were most interested in seeing: Alex Mack.
Mack stole the show Wednesday. After every player had gone through their weightlifting sessions and drills on the field, it was time for positional testing. Everybody wanted to see Mack, so the hoard of scouts there all migrated to a corner of the field and gathered around as Mack went through a grueling series of drills and tests.
But that wasn’t all. When Mack was done on the field, a select handful of teams took him inside for some “Chalk Talk” sessions, where they watched film together and observed Mack’s understanding of hte game. Of course, this is one of Mack’s strength, so he likely impressed the teams during this session as well.
“It feels really good to be finished,” Mack said. “I like playing football. I’m not too thrilled about doing 40s and doing L runs and things like that, but it’s one of the things you have to do, and it’s fun to come out here and do well and run in front of a bunch of people.”
Wednesday was big for Mack because he wasn’t able to work out at the NFL combine because of a sprained ankle. It was the first time he was able to perfrom in front of the scouts.
“My hope was that any drill I didn’t do well at the combine I would just do again here,” Mack said. “It turned out to be a big day because it was my one shot. It made this day really important, but it was also good to have those extra three weeks to get ready.”
Many projections have Mack going late in the first round of next month’s NFL draft. One mock draft even had Mack going No. 7 overall to the Raiders. Of course, the Raiders’ new offensive line coach is Mack’s former position coach at Cal, Jim Michalczik.
Michalczik was at Pro Day.
According to Mack’s agent, Tim Younger, Mack ran a 5.17 in the 40 and had a broad jump of 8-10. Those numbers would have put him in the top ten among offensive linemen at the NFL combine.
Mack will have about 10 private workouts with teams between now and the draft. Teams believed to be highly interested in Mack include Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta and Baltimore.
“Wherever I go, I’ll be happy,” Mack said. “I want to be wanted, and some team is going to want me somewhere. First round would be great. I’ll jump up and down and scream like a little girl or something on draft day, but I’m not going to be crushed if I go in the second round, either.”
One of the reasons Mack came back to Cal for his senior season was to improve his draft stock, and he appears to have done that because he wasn’t regarded as a first-round pick last year. Mack is thrilled that he decided to return to Berkeley.
“It was really good to come back for my senior year,” he said. “I came back because I wanted to play one more year of football. I wanted to get better. I wanted to be with my teammates, I wanted to finish at Cal right. I wanted to do all those positive things.
“I played a lot better. That’s what matters most. I have better film than last year so I’m in a better position. It’s really nice to finish out, have all my teammates support me, not feeling like I ditched them.”