The Raiders didn't make any big trades down in the first down and they didn't made any surprise pick. They did both of those things last year. This year they kept their pick at fifth overall and took Khalil Mack. That was the only move the Raiders made today. No trades back into the bottom of the first round. Just Mack. And they killed it.
The pick was a no-brainer. Before the day began, I put out my projected Raiders big board and it looked like this"
1. Jadeveon Clowney
2. Sammy Watkins
3. Khalil Mack
4. Blake Bortles
5. Aaron Donald
Clowney went number one overall as expected, the Rams then chose Greg Robinson, the Jaguars took Blake Bortles with the third overall pick, the Bills traded up with the Browns to take Sammy Watkins at fourth overall. That left Mack as the top player in the draft and the top player on the Raiders' board. And they pulled the trigger.
The Raiders fielded quite a few calls to trade down but when the fifth pick came and Mack was on the board, they shut it down and turned in the card. Any talk of the team liking Mike Evans over Sammy Watkins was null and void. That rumor never held any water anyway.
Even after adding several veteran pass rushers this off-season, a long term solution was needed. Mack fills that need perfectly and with his linebacking skills it's possible the Raiders could have him on the field along with Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, and Sio Moore. A team can't have enough pass rushers and the Raiders now have a stable of them.
Several other of the Silver & Black Pride staff chimed in with their take on the pick.
I can't remember the last time I left the first round of a Raiders draft feeling good. While the jury is still out on D.J. Hayden (and even that pick was classified as a reach), Rolando McClain and Darren McFadden were the last two well-received picks (at the time) and they came way back in 2009 and 2010.
With Mack, the question was simply whether the right player was going to drop. As many people said, there was a top 4 and then a drop-off (so now is a good time to start sending the Jaguars a thank-you card). As soon as the Jags took Bortles, Oakland knew they were getting Mack or Sammy Watkins, and while Watkins would have added some offensive excitement, Mack was the player Oakland really needed.
Yes, he's a small school guy from Buffalo, but at the end of the day, experts almost unanimously loved this guy - whether he was the No. 1 ranked player (per Mike Mayock) or not, everyone had him in the top 5. This was a great pick by McKenzie, and Mack is a guy I expect we'll see as a stalwart in Oakland for the next decade.
I love the selection of Khalil Mack. I think he can be to the Raiders what Clay Matthews has been to Green Bay, what Terrell Suggs is to the Ravens, and what Demarcus Ware has been to the Cowboys. There really hasn't been a guy on the Raider defense for many years that opposing coordinators had to game-plan for. Khalil Mack is that type of player. Raider teams of old were built in hard-hitting, physical defensive play, from guys like Howie Long, Lyle Alzado, Ted Hendricks and Jack Tatum. Khalil Mack could have fit right in on a team with any of those guys.
Reggie hasn't inspired much confidence with his draft picks thus far in his tenure as Raiders GM, but Khalil Mack was under strong consideration for the first pick overall and for Oakland to get him at five was a home run. Let's hope Reggie can continue to draft solid players like Mack for the rest of the weekend. It will go a long way, combined with his excellent feee agent signings, to making Oakland's defense one that teams will no longer be able to take lightly.
With Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins and Greg Robinson taken, Khalil Mack was easily the best player available. Mack was viewed as a top five talent. NFL.com's Mike Mayock ranked Mack the number one overall player in his top 100 prospects. Raider fans here at S&BP ranked Mack as the third overall player in the Community Big Board.
It just so happens that he also fills a massive need. Before free agency began, Sio Moore was the only pass rusher the Raiders had on the roster. Now, add Mack, Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley to that list.
Mack holds the NCAA record for career forced fumbles(16) and tackles for a loss (75). His total of 28.5 career sacks is ranked the 25th highest in NCAA history. He is a lethal pass rusher that is also a threat in the run game. Mack can drop back into coverage and he had three interceptions in 2013. He also has a 40-inch vertical and great explosion off the line.
Marcus Allen Krause
I am very excited for the addition of Khalil Mack. He can play DE or OLB depending on the need which allows more freedom in the defensive play calling. Mack and Sio Moore together are a great combination off the edge and are going to fit together nicely.
I would have loved to see a draft day trade but its understandable to stay put and fill a need like they did with Khalil. They didn't reach for a QB which I like, though I would have been happier if they traded back into the 1st for Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater. Now they have to wait and see if Derek Carr will be available on day 2, which isn't likely with Houston needing a QB still and picking first in the second round.