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Khalil Mack reflects on rise to potential No. 1 overall draft pick

Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack has become one of the darlings of draft season with his showings at the NFL Scouting Combine and his pro day on Tuesday. He said Wednesday on the College Football 24/7 Podcast that he is ready for whatever comes next.

"I've prepared for this moment," said Mack, whom NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt includes on his list of the seven players that should be in play to be the No. 1 overall pick. NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock has said he would take Mack with the draft's top pick.

Mack (6-foot-3, 251 pounds) said that while he could fit in a 4-3 scheme, especially as a pass-rushing end on third down, he thinks the 3-4 "is designed in my favor" because of his ability to rush the passer but also drop into coverage.

"I feel like a 3-4 outside linebacker," he said.

Mack spent part of his segment detailing his fairy-tale rise from unrecruited high school player -- he wasn't an under-the-radar recruit as much as an off-the-radar recruit -- to possibly going first overall in the draft.

Mack signed with Buffalo in 2009 as part of then-coach Turner Gill's fourth recruiting class at the school. Mack played only one year of high school football and had been planning to attend FCS member Liberty until the Flames assistant who recruited him was hired by Buffalo. Mack was listed at 6-3 and 220 pounds when he signed with the Bulls out of Fort Pierce (Fla.) Westwood, where he had been a third-team all-state pick in Class 4A (at the time, Florida's third-largest high school classification). Among the 4A first-team picks: Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam, a first-round pick out of Florida in the 2013 draft, and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (who might end up playing in the same division as Elam).

Mack went on to set an NCAA record with 16 forced fumbles and is tied for first in NCAA history with 75 tackles for loss.

Buffalo's highest-ever draft pick is Gerry Philbin, who went in the third round to the Detroit Lions in 1964. Philbin instead signed with the AFL's New York Jets and became a stalwart at defensive end.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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