LB Khalil Mack doesn’t need to try very hard to make the Oakland Raiders fans like him. The Raider Nation has been buzzing ever since the football gods smiled upon the franchise and gifted the team with the stud linebacker from the University of Buffalo. GM Reggie McKenzie wasted no time in pulling the trigger with the fifth overall pick, snagging Mack with the expectation that he will be one of the most disruptive and dominating defensive forces in the NFL.
But if the simple thought of Mack wreaking havoc and making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks wasn’t enough to endear him to Raiders fans, he may have just given them another outstanding reason to love him — he wants to hit Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning most of all.
While attending the media circus that was the NFLPA Rookie Premier – an event created so the league could cash in by showing off its latest crop of potential superstars – Mack found himself cornered by reporter Alex Flanagan who asked the somewhat reserved and soft spoken defensive standout which NFL quarterback he was most looking forward to dropping.
“I think that has to be Peyton Manning right now. Just thinking about it gets you a little excited, you know what I mean?”
Raiders fans without a doubt, know exactly what he means since the idea of Mack getting his big paws on Manning excites them through and through. As Denver’s field general, Raider fans have had to endure the sight of Manning carving up Oakland’s defense twice a year for the last two seasons. In just two games alone last season, Manning tossed seven touchdown passes against the Raiders’ defense. So it’s understandable – perhaps even excusable – for the Raider Nation to be giddy beyond belief as they envision Manning taking a beating at the hands of Mack and the rest of Oakland’s overhauled defense.
Of course, as thrilled as Raiders fans would be to see Mack get a hold of Manning though, they’d likely be just as pleased to see him get a piece of San Diego Chargers QB Phillip Rivers or Kansas City Chiefs signal caller Alex Smith.
After all, the most direct route to the playoffs is by winning your division. And if you can rough up and disrupt the offenses of your division foes, you go a long way toward accomplishing that feat.
All other things considered though, it has to put an extra special smile on the faces of the Raiders’ faithful to hear Mack talking about tearing up the offense of their most hated and bitter division rival – while simultaneously sending a cold chill down Manning’s spine knowing that Mack is gunning for him.