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With Mack available, Raiders keep pick

Filed for print . . .

Reggie McKenzie said he fielded some phone calls Thursday night from teams interested in trading for the Raiders’ first pick at No. 5 in the NFL draft.

Then Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack became available.

“Once Khalil fell to us, we had a couple of calls,’’ McKenzie said. “At that point, I wasn’t taking ‘em.’’

Mack was only the third linebacker ever taken in the first round by the Raiders, following Rolando McClain (No. 8 in 2010) and Rob Fredrickson (No. 22 in 1994).

But it was clear listening to coach Dennis Allen that while Mack is listed as a linebacker, his primary responsibility will be rushing the passer.

At 6-foot-3, 251 pounds, Allen compared Mack to Von Miller, who was the second overall selection out of Texas A&M when he was defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos in 2011.

Miller was the NFL defensive rookie of the year with 11.5 sacks, had 18.5 sacks in his second season and has 35 sacks in 40 NFL games.

“The thing that was really attractive about Khalil Mack is he understands how to rush the passer, and he understands how to rush the passer with power,’’ Allen said. “I see a lot of similarities between he and Von Miller.’

Mack has also been compared with Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who was drafted by the Packers when McKenzie was a personnel executive.

At Buffalo of the Mid-America conference, Mack started 48 games with 28.5 sacks, 75 tackles for losses and an NCAA career record of 16 forced fumbles. It helped that Mack was dominant against Ohio State in the season opener in 2013 with 2.5 sacks, nine tackles and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“It had to do very well for my stock . . . just knowing the stage it was on, knowing it was the first game of the year and they were ranked so high, it benefited me a lot,’’ Mack said.

Jadaveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick by Houston out of South Carolina, was generally considered the top defensive player available, but Mack had his supporters _ NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock among them. Mack said at the NFL scouting combine he indeed considered himself No. 1.

Still does, as a matter of fact.

“I think that I am, but even then I’m at the point now where I’m tired of talking and I want to go out and start proving a little bit if this tuff everybody’s been talking about. I can’t wait. I cannot wait.’’

Linebacker was the only position group where the Raiders returned all three starters _ Sio Moore on the strong side, Nick Roach in the middle and Kevin Burnett on the weak side.

Allen wasn’t getting into specifics as to how Mack would be used, but he called him a “three-down player’’ and made it clear much would be expected of the rookie.

“I’m not going to get into exactly where he’s going to play,’’ Allen said. “I’ll tell you this _ he’s going to obviously have a big role in what we’re going to do and he’ll be a guy that we’re going to use to send after the quarterback in a variety of different ways.’’

Mack said Allen spoke of his role in general terms.

“We discussed having my hand down, discussed playing a little outside linebacker,’’ Mack said. “I’m ready, man. I’m ready to go play football.’’

Coming out of Westwood High in in Ft. Pierce, Fla., Mack wasn’t heavily recruited. It’s a slight he said he carries to this day for motivation.

When the Buffalo Bills traded for Cleveland’s pick at No. 4, it occurred to Mack he may not have to change zip codes.

When asked by a reporter if he was afraid he would have to spend his whole life in Buffalo, Mack laughed heartily.

“I was like, `Yo, I’ve got a lease right now up in Buffalo. I might be keeping it,’ ‘’ Mack said. “That’s crazy.’’

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • marks hair

    What a rise..
    Mack was 0 star recruit out of high school.. and ranked as a fourth to fifth round draft pick last year.. now he is the number 5 pick in the draft.

  • RaidO

    Yup the draft is a gamble…

  • RediaR

    We almost have to make #36 a WR if we do that.

  • Ron69

    We can’t miss in the 2nd round with:
    WR Lee, the Browns might take him before us
    OG Su’a-Filo. The best Guard in this year draft, the Redskins are in play
    DE Ealy. he is better than Houston imo

    Stay away from
    DT Nix, he has bad knees
    DT Hageman. an average dt
    QB Carr, he plays awful against good competition

    i’ll be ok with
    DT, Jernigan
    WR Matthews
    DE Crichton

  • Chris in NY

    Except Mitchell has validated himself now that he had a chance to start, as I said he would. After being among the team leaders in almost every category for the elite Panthers D, just landed a big contract to start at safety for the Steelers.
    Time for the Mitchell critics to admit their failure. Just like Reggie failed letting him walk while overpaying Branch.

  • scinfidel

    Draft Marquise Lee!!

  • Rico Stifler

    No need for Van Noy considering we drafted Mack who is also an OLB

  • PlunkforHOF

    Gravity is reversed! Monkeys begin speaking perfect Shakespearian English! Round is square! In is out! Good for you Hunter.

  • 0ak R8rs

    I’m ok w Skov or Zumwault for that spot. I want Lee.

  • Rico Stifler

    Caaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr is gonna be the pick….

  • scinfidel

    I’m good with that too.

  • RaidO

    Dudes put up similar stats in weak conferences. Very relevant comment. Never said he will be a bad player.

  • Chris in NY

    Look back at that draft and I’m sure Mitchell was actually a first-round talent if you were to look at all the players again where they’re valued now.

  • NYCRaider

    can’t go wrong getting him in round 2 or Tuitt or Jernigan. No need for Carr in round 2 when there are possible starters available

  • Rico Stifler

    Carr will end up being the steal of the draft…..

  • Miamiraider78

    Like a broken record.

  • Ian

    You can tell by just looking at these two guys side by side though that they arent similar at all though.

  • Lowdown_in_Beijing

    Jernigan or Nix…Hageman may be better than Sands, but dude leans on people way to much…Jernigan reminds me of Jerry Ball.

  • Rico Stifler

    What was the worst pick of the first round?

  • RaidO

    Yup noticed that to..

  • TrevJo

    get:
    Timmy Jernigan
    Kony Ealy
    Demarcus Lawrence
    Jeremiah Attaochu

    avoid:
    Carr
    Savage

  • 0ak R8rs

    Ok. You’re entitled to your opinion and your observations. And I’m entitled to consider them irrelevant. Move on.

  • Chris in NY

    Which is a bit scary, IMO.

  • TrevJo

    Bortles easy, lol Jax

  • Ian

    I think Jernigan falls. Do not pick with our 2nd rounder.

  • scinfidel

    I’d be good with all the above, including Carr. My order would be: Lee, Jernigan, Carr and Tuitt.. then I’d go Ealy, Hageman.

  • xraided

    Mack has the skill to be great… high motor like JJ Watt… and best of all… HE WANTS TO BE GREAT

    finally, a fantastic 1st round pick from the Raiders…bout dmn time

  • marks hair

    It is.. I wouldn’t have taken Mac because I can’t trust one game. but Reggie has been pretty good about picking linebackers and he seems to understand how to evaluate them..

  • Marley Bob

    Good night fellas…can’t wait to get a Mack jersey.
    Catch up early tomorrow, I’m dead.
    Kudos to Reggie.

  • scinfidel

    Jared Allen was a 0 Star recruit, played IAA and was barely allowed into the NFL.. The experts aren’t much of that.

  • NYCRaider

    Easley

  • marks hair

    I think the experts have a pretty good batting average but ya guys fall through the cracks

  • Beast Raider

    Niners nickel corner-reach- did u see the crowd- whooo?

  • RaidO

    Burris was a 4th rd pick..Put up the same stats as Mack.

    Both in weak conferences

  • Rico Stifler

    I think the OT the Dolphins took was a pretty big reach.

    Also, I think KC getting Dee Ford didn’t make any sense considering they already have Hali and Houston at OLB. Dennard made a lot more sense.

  • marks hair

    He really didn’t put up the same stats as Mac though

  • Rico Stifler

    Yeah, i thought he would have been a late second round pick. The safety the Cards took was a pretty big reach as well.

  • 2romes

    Good night Raider Brother.

  • NYCRaider

    my preference is to focus on QB next year and take advantage of the quality position players out there, but Lee could be a steal in round 2 or matthews from vandy who i like a lot

  • RaidO

    Yes he did:

    Burris was a two-time All-Mountain West Conference first-team selection at San Diego State and led the Aztecs in tackles as a senior, posting 78 stops, including 46 solo tackles, and 19.5 tackles for loss. Burris added eight sacks and three fumble recoveries that same season.

    ———————————————————————–

    Starting all 13 games, Mack recorded 100 tackles including 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, three interceptions, one which he returned for a touchdown, and forced five fumbles.

  • TrevJo

    You may be right. Was a hot name awhile back but combine numbers were not impressive.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Idk if San Diego Verrett is the worst pick. There were a few. But I can’t see a 5’9″ CB working out in this league

  • TrevJo

    2 star out of high school
    the TCU CB was the 0 star

  • NYCRaider

    if we drafted Easley in the late 1st round the experts would destroy us.

  • Ian

    plus he failed a drug test bro. I mean c’mon that means he either has a problem or just doesn’t care. Not someone we want to spend a second rounder on.

  • Ian

    the eagles pick

  • marks hair

    only 22 tackles and 8 forced turnovers difference.. Plus you didn’t put up macks solo tackles

  • NYCRaider

    interesting, i would be very surprised if that happened. hes a load

  • Rico Stifler

    His height is really his only real weakness. I like Verrett actually and I think he could do well.

    I didn’t get the Lions drafting Ebron after re-signing Pettigrew for 16M and having drafted Fauria last year.

  • _Mista_

    Lloyd Christmas playing Candy Crush?