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Raiders hit their draft bull's-eye with Mack

The SportsXchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- For three years, the Oakland Raiders tried to figure out a way to block Denver outside linebacker Von Miller.

Now they have their own linebacker for other teams to try and block

The Raiders took Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack on Thursday with the fifth pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, and coach Dennis Allen felt good enough about it to compare Mack with one of the league's most dominant defenders.

Allen was the defensive coordinator at Denver during Miller's rookie season.

"I envision his role to be very similar to what we did with Von Miller," Allen said.

General manager Reggie McKenzie said the Raiders were on to Mack early in the scouting process and were relieved when the first four selections were South Carolina defensive end Jadaveon Clowney to Houston, Auburn tackle Greg Robinson to St. Louis, quarterback Blake Bortles to Jacksonville and wide receiver Sammy Watkins to Buffalo.

The Bortles pick had to make the Raiders feel better -- the Jaguars were considered a team that might take Mack.

"This is a guy we targeted early that we liked, that we wanted, and to be honest we feel fortunate that he was there when we got to the fifth pick," McKenzie said.

Mack, 6 feet 3 and 251 pounds, set records at Buffalo with 28 1/2 sacks, 78 tackles for loss and 16 forced fumbles. He said after the season that he considered himself the best defensive player in the draft, but he was not interested in boasting during a conference call with local media.

"I think that I am, but I'm at the point right now where I'm tired of talking about it and that I want to go out and prove a little bit if this stuff everyone's talking about," Mack said. "I can't wait. I cannot wait."

Linebacker is one of the few positions where the Raiders appeared set, with Sio Moore (strong side), Nick Roach (middle) and Kevin Burnett (weak side) all returning starters.

Allen made it clear that Mack will be a three-down player, and will be moved around like a chess piece to create mismatches.

"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."

McKenzie said the Raiders had talked to teams about dealing the No. 5 pick, moving back and accumulating more picks, but the talk ceased when Mack became available.

"Once Khalil fell to us, we had a couple of calls, but at that point I wasn't taking them," McKenzie said.

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League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Sep 3 9:00 am
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