New Browns coach Mike Pettine returned to Buffalo today, but he wasn’t there because of nostalgia.
Pettine, who spent last season as the defensive coordinator of the Bills, was on a business trip. He and new Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil attended the University at Buffalo’s pro day this morning to watch standout linebacker Khalil Mack run for NFL scouts and decision makers.
Mack reportedly posted an unofficial time of 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the pro day workout. Last month, he tied for fourth among all linebackers at the NFL Scouting Combine with an official time of 4.65 seconds.
The Browns have the fourth overall pick in the May 8-10 draft. Although Mack is a projected top-10 pick, it would a major surprise if the Browns picked him at No. 4.
The Browns have an urgent need at inside linebacker in Pettine’s 3-4, multi-front scheme after cutting defensive captain D’Qwell Jackson last week. But most draft analysts believe Mack is best suited as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. In college, he played with his hand on the ground and stood up as an edge rusher in a 3-4 system. With Paul Kruger, Jabaal Sheard, Barkevious Mingo and Quentin Groves on the roster, outside linebacker is one of the Browns’ deepest positions.
Regardless, all teams with premium picks will examine the top prospects. And the 6-foot-2, 251-pound Mack is certainly viewed as one of the best players this year’s draft class has to offer.
NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock praised Mack last month during an interview with Minnesota radio station KFAN.
“He’s one of the best two or three players in this draft,” Mayock said. “I’m going to tell you right now, I’d take him with the first pick.”