College Talent Scout

Analyzing and Scouting the Best of the NCAA

Alex Mack, C, Cal

Name: Alex Mack
Position: OC

Cal – Berkeley
Height: 6041 V

312 V
40 Time:
5.1 E

Athleticism: 6.5
For his size, Mack is an extremely athletic player, and even compared to the smaller centers Mack is pretty athletic. In the NFL, Mack’s quickness and fluid hips would be significantly above average, and he has decent balance for the position.
Quickness: 6.5

Balance: 6.0
Fluidity: 6.5

Physical Talents: 6.5
Mack is a very talented player. He has prototype size, strength, and explosion from the center position. If you were to design a center, physically you’d probably end up with Mack. He’s plenty athletic to play guard as well, and would be one of the top guards in this class if considered one (behind Andre Smith, and probably nobody else).
Body Type: 6.5

Strength: 6.5
Explosion: 6.0

Polish: 6.5
Mack is an Draddy (think academic Heisman) award winner who’s smarts translate to the football field. He makes line calls at the LOS for his team, and usually when Cal got beat it was due to the tackles not fulfilling their assignments, even if they knew them. He plays will good technique for the position and is smart enough to improve (needs to improve punch in pass protection) in the areas where he needs to. Mack displays very good instincts locating linebackers and should be an asset mentally for whatever team takes him.
Understands Playbook: 6.5

Proper Technique: 6.5
Instincts: 6.5

Competitiveness: 6.5
Mack has a bit of nastiness in him, which I like. He’s a very consistent player who plays best at the goal line, showing the willingness to cut block well (get himself dirty) if that is what is needed to make the play work.
Toughness: 6.5
Consistency: 6.5
Clutch Play: 6.5
Effort: 6.5

Football Character: 6.5 Leader of the Cal Line. Good build shows weight-room dedication.
Personal Character: 6.5
Very smart kid who should present 0 problems in the NFL.
Durability: 6.5
No medical red flags, is durable and tough.

Play Strength: 6.5 Has plus strength for the position.
vs Speed Rush: 6.0
Should win most battles vs speed rush.
vs Bull Rush: 6.5
Should not be a problem at the NFL level.

Footwork: 6.5 Does a good job with his feet, sealing to create big holes and making downfield blocks.
Hand technique: 6.5
Very good technique, sometimes catches DL with his body instead of arms, but workable. Refined for a college kid.
2nd level blocking: 6.0
Does a great job getting to the second level, but sometimes whiffs on blocks.
Quickness off snap: 6.0
Can be beaten by elite LBs blitzing inside, but usually does a good job.
Proper Balance: 5.5 Sometimes can get too high, which leads to him overextending, which leads to him not sustaining blocks. Not a big problem, but something he could work on.

Lateral Slide: 6.0
Good lateral slide, will struggle moving to a spot before a blitzing LB.
Errors: 6.0
Mack plays a little nasty and drew a flag for that, and while I don’t think this will be a big problem, it is a minor annoyance. Also sent a snap above the QB’s head in the shotgun, though he was mostly accurate.

Summary: Mack was a guy I loved when I first saw him, and while he has a couple areas to improve upon (blitzing LBs inside, blocking LBs on the move, balance), I believe he will eventually be one of the best centers in the NFL. Mack is a rare player who is a great fit for any scheme – he has the traditional power to play in a man blocking scheme, and the quickness to get to the 2nd level in a zone blocking scheme. Like all college players, he needs to improve his hand use, but if any college player can, I’d place my hopes on the high character, intelligent center from Cal.

Note: While Mack’s grade is a top-10 talent, I wouldn’t recommend taking a center that early. That said, a 6.8 is a player who I expect to go to 5+ pro bowls, which is what I expect from Mack.

Final Grade: 6.8

Note: There is the chance that I will grade Mack in more games, for that reason I reserve the right to change this grade up til Mack is drafted.

Games Scouted: USC, Maryland, Miami


February 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I wonder if Mack will slip at all into the 2nd round. I keep seeing that Unger is regarded the better C prospect because he can play all positions. If that is the case, I think it would be delightfull if the Hawks can grab Crabtree with their 1st, then Mack slip out of round one since Unger is taken and then we can get him with our 2nd.

    I think it’d be great because Spencer doesn’t have the same mental abilities as Mack. Not to mention he has his suspect back injury. I think if we can grab Mack, make him our center and then slide Spencer back to guard, we would have much better results. Spencer is obviously a good player, but him having to make the line calls kind of holds him back, he has to think too much and I think it takes away from his play. If he can be put in guard and not have to worry about all that and not have to use his head as much, he could become a much more dominating player. So we’d have an upgrade at guard and a stud at center.

    Comment by DSAhawker | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  2. Good job Kyle. I was just coming here to razz you with something like, “Come one! You’re not even posting on .NET, it’s time for some more content!”

    To echo DSAhawker, I can’t see 4 to 5 of the teams (notably, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis) at the bottom of the 1st all passing on Mack. To get him, we’d have to trade back into the 1st, which is expensive. Maybe Unger falls, maybe we bite the bullet and reach a bit on Herman Johnson.

    We need a center though. Next to WR, I think it’s a crucial need. I think TR probably agrees.

    Comment by Nano | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  3. There should hopefully be more content in the coming days. I have like 10 players I have scouted but not written the reports on, so I’m trying to work up the motivation to write the reports.

    I agree about Mack. I don’t think Unger will end up higher than Mack, when all is said and done, and remember I’m a Duck fan. But, as far as I am concerned, Mack is a special blend of size, athleticism, and smarts who should be the next coming of Olin Kreutz. Is that worth our 2nd and 3rd. I’m still struggling with that. It seems like one of the reasons we struggle with depth is because we keep trading our picks away, but Mack is something of a steal in the late first.

    Comment by rotak | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  4. I was waiting for this report from you. I am kind of disappointed.

    I was hoping we would have some big disagreements.

    I would have graded him just a smidgen higher at getting to the second level. unless you just grade by 0.5.

    This is the guy I am most excited about in the draft. I think he is worth the jump back into the 1st.

    To me dropping back a few spots to gain two 1st round picks is worth it. I regress because this is your scouting blog and not a Hawks forum.

    Comment by Fudwamper | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  5. I’m struggling with it too, but I’m leaning towards, “no.”

    It’s tough. I’d probably rather have a combination of either Unger/Herman/Shonn Greene and Hamlin/Iglesias/Levitre.

    I know you’re a Duckee, do you have an opinion of Jairus Byrd? I know you scouted Chung, I imagine you formed at least some opinion of him.

    I recently saw that Walterfootball has him going in the 3rd round. I didn’t imagine him going that high.

    Comment by Nano | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  6. Sorry to make two posts but I just read you are taking a hiatus from .net.

    I see the only other guy you rate higher is Stafford. That is why I hope the hawks drop to pick up the talent, that I believe is about the same, in the top 10.

    Then move up to get this kid. I will reiterate that this guy is probably the only guy on the board that gives TR a big willie in his risk-reward ratio determinations. Then again I also have a big willie on the prospects of this kid for a risk reward ratio for first round talent.

    I just pray that this kid makes it to the 20’s.

    Comment by Fudwamper | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  7. I love Shonn Greene…

    my GF…well… now exGF is from Iowa so I watched all their games this year…I think that kid is awesome. Underrated IMO.

    Comment by DSAhawker | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  8. Hey….is there a way to change some of the colors JUST slighty….just a tiny bit???? the black on black makes all the comments run together.

    Maybe like a dark dark dark grey with the black comment boxes on top would make it a bit easier to read 🙂

    Comment by DSAhawker | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  9. Ya, the comments do run together. Maybe a faint dotted line or something in between posts can be achieved….

    Comment by Nano | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  10. Dang. A flurry of comments:

    Fud: Sorry to disappoint. lol. I only grade by .5s, a 6.0 is a good grade, but I couldn’t award higher because he had some trouble landing his blocks on the USC LBs. He has the potential to earn a 6.5, because his athletic ability is worthy, but he has work to do before I award that.

    I also rated him a little higher than most. A guy who is more familiar with this system (this is my first year using it) gave him a 6.4 or 6.5 I think. I upped it a bit because I think Mack is a safe pick with a high ceiling.

    Nano: I didn’t scout Byrd because I am shocked he declared. He seemed really physical in coverage, but that was cause I don’t think he has the speed to be a starter against down-field threats.

    Shonn Greene is a guy I am interested to scout. Like his build, short and squat, and if he has enough speed he’d be a good pick for Seattle. And don’t feel bad about talking Seahawks stuff here… aside from a friendly Rams site that links to me every now and then, everyone here is a Seahawks fan. I’m certainly willing to talk non-Seahawks, and I want others to feel comfortable doing so, but if some Lions fan wants to talk about the best choice for their team, I’d talk it with them as well.

    I’ll work on finding a new site layout, DSA. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m able to mess with the color scheme, but I’m not too familiar with WordPress.

    Comment by rotak | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  11. I’m hoping that Philly will want Crabtree so bad that they’ll trade both their first round picks (#21 and #28) for him…then we can (hopefully) pick up Mack and either Robinson or Unger…and if the football gode REALLY love us (or just want to make up for SBXL) the one we don’t pick will fall to su in the second round……

    Comment by nightwulf | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  12. Excellent!!!

    I like how you put your numbers on the right for quick reference

    Comment by DSAhawker | February 15, 2009 | Reply

    • I’d like to take credit for that, but the template I found did all that. I do like the end result. 🙂

      Admittedly, even I sometimes reference my site to make sure my points are what I want. I’ll be making some significant changes to things next year, because the current system doesn’t feel like the best way, but I want to finish this year’s scouting first.

      Comment by rotak | February 15, 2009 | Reply

  13. Rotak, are you at all concerned by the multiple reports out of Senior Bowl practices that Raji handled this guy with sheer power and quickness on several occasions?

    I’m not saying you need to be or should be, just curious…

    Comment by Hawkdawg | February 15, 2009 | Reply

  14. Not particularly. The important thing to remember is that the drills are really slanted towards the defensive player. In a game, the DT wouldn’t have the space between C and G to work with. Also, Raji is the best DT in this class and a legitimate top-10 pick – usually the best interior NFL players get double teamed. Definitely not left 1v1 against a center.

    Comment by rotak | February 15, 2009 | Reply

  15. Kyle,

    Do you have an opinion of Unger? I wonder how he stacks up in comparison to Mack in terms of fitting in to the Seahawks’ needs.

    I know he’s less powerful, but the consensus is that he’s just as versatile and has decent athleticism and smarts.

    I think it’s a good year to need a center. I believe it’s a lock that we draft one. Then again, I was sure we’d use an earlier pick on RB last year.

    Comment by nano | April 12, 2009 | Reply

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