Expectations are high for Raiders rookie linebacker Khalil Mack. Although he has yet to play a down in the NFL, the Buffalo alumnus has already drawn comparisons to Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller. But Mack is embracing these lofty comparisons.
"I want to prove that they got a top guy," Mack stated in his rookie confessional. "I just want to go out and show that I can play football. You can talk all day. You can meet the media and talk about how great this person is. But you still have to prove it, and show why they brought you to that team."
So far, Mack has impressed both his teammates and coaches.
"Sometimes he moves like a defensive back," left tackle Donald Penn said. "It's crazy for a guy like that to be doing that. He has a motor that's relentless. As a tackle, you stay on him until you hear the whistle or hear the crowd cheer."
Safety Charles Woodson also likes what Mack brings to the table.
"I've watched him a couple of times come off the edge, and he's a guy that can bend at the waist, he can get low," he told Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area. "He can get under tackles if he's going around the edge. He's quick enough to where he can get a guy in space coming off the edge. He can make movements in or out and go either way, and he seems to be put together pretty well, so we know he has some strength. It will be great to see him in action when it really goes down."
Even defensive end Justin Tuck added praise.
"I think he's going to be special. He has a great work ethic and obviously a ton of talent. And he asks a lot of questions, which is exactly what rookies should do."
As for the coaches, there is a sense that Mack is even better than the team initially believed according to Jerry McDonald of Inside Bay Area. That is saying a lot considering the Raiders made him the number five overall pick.
"I think he's an outstanding talent," said head coach Dennis Allen. "I think he's got a huge upside. If he continues to work the way that he has, I think he'll fulfill those goals and the expectations that we have of him."
Khalil Mack wants to walk the walk, and so far he has done just that.