It’s early, obviously. And it might be wishful thinking.
But the Raiders clearly have high expectations for first-rounder Khalil Mack.
According to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie is comparing his newest linebacker to one of the best pass-rushers in the game.
“He’s reminded me of Clay Matthews from Day 1,” McKenzie said, referring to Clay III, the Packer, and not the long-time Browns linebacker. “He’s one of those guys that knows how to set the edge, and he has length and power and some tools to rush the passer.
“He’s got that first step, he can bend, he’s relentless.”
McKenize was working in Green Bay when the Packers drafted Matthews in the first round, and said that intensity is something they saw in Mack this year.
“That’s what Clay was, you don’t have tell him to go sic ’em,” McKenzie said. “He just innately does that. Khalil is that same way.”
“It’s hard to find guys that are skillful that have that innate ability.”
If Mack has the same kind of instant impact (Matthews had 23.5 sacks his first two seasons, and 50.0 in five), the Raiders will be delighted. They out enough solid veterans into their defensive mix that adding that kind of spark could make them respectable quickly.