Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Falcons fans: Meet Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack


INDIANAPOLIS – Heading over to the Oil Dome in a few minutes.

It will be a heavy media day with Falcons coach Mike Smith set to speak at 11:45 a.m. Check back around Noon-ish for video and a little later for a blog on some of the highlights and a story on

I wanted to share a little bit on potential future Falcons linebacker Khalil Mack, who played at Buffalo. Some consider him the best defensive player in the draft and he should be available when the Falcons pick at sixth overall.

Here’s a story on him from Buffalo.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock had heard all of the hype about Mack before he watched his film.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Mayock said. “I knew that he had a lot of positive reviews from around the country, but the first tape that I put in was Ohio State and he blew them up. He played all over the field. On the edge and dropping into coverage.”

Mack, who was considered a two-star recruit coming out of Fort Pierce (Fla.) Westwood, had only one scholarship offer. … to Buffalo. He took it.

Mayock believes he can play strongside and weakside linebacker and be an edge rusher.

He could play that hybrid defensive end/linebacker spot the Falcons have tried to play Kroy Biermann in for the past two seasons under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Here’s more from Mayock on his film review of Mack.

“The next tape that I put in was Kent State and he made a one-handed interception,” Mayock said. “He runs like a safety. He explodes off the edge. From my perspective, in today’s NFL, guys who have natural edge-rush ability are like gold.

“You have to get them when they are available. I think he’s one of the elite edge guys in the draft. He hustles. He’s tough and he can play the run game. Unlike a lot of these guys, he can also drop in coverage. I have yet to find a hole in his game.”

The running and jumping action doesn’t start until Saturday. But check back later in the day for videos, Smith’s interview and other items from the NFL scouting combine.

Thursday, February 20

9:45 AM: Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins Coach (He’s been silent since the Wells Report was published. The Miami writers are ready for some answers and want to know why he’s been hiding from the story.)

10:00 AM: Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears Head Coach.

10:15 AM: Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager.

10:30 AM: Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans Head Coach.

10:45 AM: Ruston Webster, Tennessee Titans Executive Vice President/General Manager.

11:00 AM: Phil Emery, Chicago Bears General Manager.

11:15 AM: Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills Head Coach.

11:30 AM: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals General Manager.

11:45 AM: Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons Head Coach.

Noon: Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions Head Coach.

12:15 PM: Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers Head Coach.

12:30 PM: Tom Telesco, San Diego Chargers General Manager.

12:45 PM: John Fox, Denver Broncos Head Coach.

1:00 PM: Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach.

1:15 PM: Rick Spielman, Minnesota Vikings General Manager.

1:30 PM: David Caldwell, Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager.

1:45 PM: Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders Head Coach.

2:00 PM: Jason Licht, Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager.

2:15 PM: Dennis Hickey, Miami Dolphins General Manager.

2:30 PM: Howie Roseman, Philadelphia Eagles General Manager.

2:45 PM: Rex Ryan, New York Jets Head Coach.

3:00 PM: John Idzik, New York Jets General Manager.

3:15 PM: Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach.

3:30 PM: Dave Gettleman, Carolina Panthers General Manager.

3:45 PM: Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers Head Coach.

4:30 PM: John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks Executive Vice President/General Manager.

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.