Originally published on Silver & Black Report on May 8, 2014
Fifth-overall pick and newest Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack spoke with the media on Thursday night shortly after he was drafted by the Raiders.
Below is the transcript from the conference call with Mack:
Q: You were slated that you could have been picked anywhere from 1 to 10. Were you surprised that you were picked by the Raiders?
Mack: “I would have been surprised to land with anybody, just to know that it’s Oakland and I’ve never been there in my life, it’s a blessing.”
Q: Have they talked to you about where specifically they want to use you?
Mack: “We discussed a little bit that. They discussed having my hand down, they discussed a little outside linebacker. I’m ready to go play football.”
Q: Dennis Allen compared your skill set to Von Miller, who he coached in Denver. Was that brought up in your conversation?
Mack: “In a sense. It wasn’t that kind of conversation, but it was along the lines of me being a player that can make an impact on that team. I’m grateful.”
Q: How much do you think the Ohio State game did for your stock?
Mack: “It had to do very well for my stock. I played against top competition before Ohio State, but just knowing the stage it was on and knowing it was the first game of the year and knowing they were ranked so high, it benefitted.”
Q: You said yourself, you’ve never been out here to Oakland. What do you know about the team and its history?
Mack: “I know the Oakland Raiders play nasty. I’m a football player that likes to get in there and get nasty in a good way.”
Q: You were not highly recruited out of high school, but that was a long time ago. Is that something that still motivates you?
Mack: “No doubt. It’s something that I use to motivate me in a lot of ways.”
Q: You have the same facemask as Justin Tuck. Did you see him wearing it? How does it feel to be joining a team with him now?
Mack: “No doubt. Justin Tuck, how about that? Getting a chance to play with him is a blessing. He’s the best at what he does and I can learn from him. I can’t tell you how excited I am.”
Q: After the Raiders had back to back 4-12 seasons, are you excited to be a part of something that can have a turnaround?
Mack: “No doubt. That’s the thing, I want to come in there and make an impact, whether it’s playing special teams or all of those things. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to get back to playing football.”
Q: How did the conversation go when you got the call?
Mack: “The conversation was crazy. I believe I started on the phone with an assistant or a scout and then Reggie McKenzie got on the phone and started talking to me. Then I got on the phone with the head coach and he told me how he wanted to use me. It’s a blessing to know that I have this opportunity and that I can make the most of it.”
Q: Was it emotional for you?
Mack: “No doubt. It’s very emotional. I’m the guy that I wouldn’t cry out there. I’m going to save those tears for later.”
Q: Do you feel like you were one of the best defensive players in this draft?
Mack: “I think that I am, but even then, I’m at the point where I’m tired of talking and I’m ready to go out there and proving a little bit of this stuff. I can’t wait. I cannot wait.”
Q: Which would you prefer, hitting a quarterback or hitting a running back?
Mack: “Does the quarterback have the ball? I want to go get the ball out of his hand if he’s not holding it tight. I wouldn’t mind blowing both of them up.”
Q: Were you worried that the Bills might draft you and you might wind up spending your whole life in Buffalo?
Mack: “I was like, well I’ve got a lease right now up in Buffalo; I might be keeping it. (laughing)”