Without knowing who he would be, the Raiders' primary goal needed to get a monster. They needed someone who in two or three years, when they should reasonably be transitioning from playoff hopeful to legitimate contender.

Mission accomplished with Khalil Mack.

The linebacker out of Buffalo has the upside you want in a first-rounder. He has the potential to be great, which is what you hope in a top-five pick. And he plays a pivotal positon, bringing a tangible high-priority skill.

And after all the scuttle, posturing, misdirection and speculation, he ended up falling to the Raiders. You can't really ask for more than that if you're the Raiders, who could use a few such breaks.

"This was a guy we targeted early in the draft process," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "A guy we liked and wanted."

Mack's combination of speed and power made him a coveted piece in the draft. He could've gone No. 1 overall and few would've sneezed. He's got the skills to be a big-time pass rusher, which is always a need in the NFL, and is sturdy against the run he's got the talent to become good in coverage.

What I liked watching some clips of him is his natural instinct to evade blockers in the run. As physical and nasty as he is, he's slithery and evasive in pursuit of the run. That showed a certain level of instinct.


Advertisement

One of the more encouraging parts about the Mack selection is the Raiders are well suited to groom him. Their offseason moves landed some real professionals with a winning pedigree. Mack has some great mentors lined up for him in Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley.

"I know the Oakland Raiders are nasty," Mack said in a conference call. "They like to play nasty. I'm a football player who likes to get in there and get nasty. But in a good way."

Read Marcus Thompson II's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/thompson. Contact him at mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ThompsonScribe.