Khalil Mack was the hot name leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft with many talent evaluators and draft experts putting the former Buffalo linebacker in the same company as No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. However, midway through his first preseason with the Oakland Raiders, the No. 5 pick in the draft is waiting for the light to come on.
Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Mack has had a “ho-hum” training camp and that the NCAA record holder for tackles for loss and forced fumbles “has looked slow getting off the line of scrimmage,”because he’s thinking and not reacting.
While Clowney has looked the part of the top pick in the draft with two huge tackles for loss and his first career sack in Week 2, the same can’t be said for Mack, but the Raiders coaches and future Hall of Famer, Charles Woodson don’t seem too concerned.
“He has a lot on his plate,” Woodson tells the Chronicle. “Not just from the standpoint of him being a high pick and everybody expecting that ‘wow’ factor out of him, but as far as the plays, knowing the positions and different things they have him doing, there is a lot expected of him in that sense, too. You just allow him to grow as a player … This guy is going to be OK, and I think the sky is the limit for him.”
You have to expect a transitional period for Mack as he comes from a small school to the NFL. Even the most accomplished rookies struggle as rookies and he still has a couple weeks before his regular season debut, so no reason to hit the panic button just yet.