It’s common for NFL position coaches to highlight star players from other teams as an example of how to do things right. But a rookie?
That seems rare.
Then Seattle Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. showed his guys film of Raiders rookie Khalil Mack last season, especially when the No. 5 overall pick bullied his way into the backfield.
Now the Raiders new defensive coordinator gets to groom Mack himself. That relationship could prove beneficial for team and player alike. Norton is a high-octane, typically hands-on coach who likes to teach technique. He’s incredibly confident that he can get Mack to raise his level of play.
“I’ve been very, very impressed,” Norton said. “One thing I have with my linebackers at Seattle, we do a great job of just watching other players across the league to see what they do well. See the type of things that I can help them coach and get themselves better and just see what is going on. Khalil Mack is a guy, with Bruce Irvin and the rest of my guys on the strong side, just watched his explosion, his speed, his combination of size and his strength.
“He’s a really smart player and he loves playing ball. I’ve done really well with young men who have a knack of making plays and really love playing football.”
The Raiders have a wealth of expertise at their disposal. Norton and head coach Jack Del Rio played and coached the position at a high level. The Raiders certainly hope it helps young linebackers like Khalil Mack and Sio Moore develop rapidly during and prior to the 2015 campaign.