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Teams worked Kahlil McKenzie out as offensive lineman, dad ‘been trying to get him to play offensive line for a long time’

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Outback Bowl - Northwestern v Tennessee Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Reggie McKenzie’s son Kahlil has been criticized for opting to leave Tennessee early and declaring for the NFL draft despite not having put up great numbers. But he says it was his dad’s idea.

“My dad is the one who introduced the conversation,” Kahlil told NFL Network Thursday. “We started talking about this about a year ago. About if I make this decision, what do I need to do in my next upcoming year, what do I need to put on film, what kind of body do I need to have, all these types of things. I use my dad in every sense of the word. He’s in a great position, he’s been around the league forever, he’s well respected, him and my uncle, so I do whatever I can to listen to what they have to say and just apply it to my game.

“We talked about it and we talked it over. Went through last season and at the end of the season we had a lot of conversations about it, we sat down, me, my mom, and my dad, and we made the decision together.”

It’s certainly possible the former 5-star recruit knows he will get his shot in the NFL regardless of his low numbers in college which consist of just 3.0 career sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. Even if that means his shot comes in the lower rounds. And maybe if he did go in the lower rounds, it would simply make it that much easier to be able to play for his dad in Oakland. After all, the Raiders have 7 picks between the 5th and 7th round.

There’s also another wrinkle here. Some teams have been looking at the 6-2, 314-pounder as an offensive lineman. Perhaps a position switch is also in the cards.

“That was awesome, just being able to get out there and show what I could do,” Kahlil said of teams working him out as an offensive lineman. “A lot of teams told me that I worked out well as an offensive lineman and I looked good doing the drills. I’ve been doing them my entire life, so that was cool being able to go out there and show that I could be somebody who could play multiple positions and help a team in different ways.”

What does his dad think about this? He’s all for it.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ve been trying to get him to play offensive line for a long time,” Reggie said Friday. “I don’t know, he has the talent to do both. We will give him a shot.”

At Kahlil’s size, he would translate to guard; a position in which the Raiders have long term talent in Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson. While that would give Kahlil plenty of time to develop, he also wouldn’t see the field. So, maybe if he comes to Oakland, stick with defensive line for now to see if he could help their deficiencies there.