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Raiders have rookie Khalil Mack's 'head spinning'


When Khalil Mack was coming out of Buffalo, scouts viewed him as a versatile playmaker who could be a difference-maker in any defensive scheme.

In the Raiders' 4-3 defense, Mack is expected to primarily play strongside linebacker, but the skilled 6-foot-3, 248-pounder is likely to see time in multiple spots, including edge rusher in passing situations.

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During offseason workouts, coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver have been experimenting with Mack in different packages to see where he will excel. In the process, the coaching staff is throwing a lot of information at the rookie.

"We've got his head spinning right now," Allen said with a wry smile, per CSN Bay Area. "That's a good thing. We're going to try to throw as much at him as we can throughout the rest of this offseason and really even into the early part of training camp, and then at some point we'll settle down to the things that we can execute as a team and execute at a high level."

Mack said he is taking on the challenge of being the team's wild card and understands that the coaches are trying to put him in a position to make plays. However, the rookie said he's learning the transition to the NFL is no walk in the park.

"There are a lot of voices behind my head right now, and I'm trying to figure out what safeties are saying, and you have different calls," Mack said. "It's a lot of communication, like they said, but you have to listen to the right things while you're out there and that's what I'm trying to do right now. I'm trying to break down and assess the game at a fast and a high level like those guys are at right now."

With the Raiders adding a plethora of older veteran players this offseason, Mack is a young buck the team expects to ride heavily in 2014 -- once his head stops spinning, that is.

In the latest episode of the "Around The League Podcast," the heroes discuss the winners and losers of minicamp season.


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