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New Raider Curtis Lofton: Khalil Mack is a 'monster'

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Naturally, when veteran middle linebacker Curtis Lofton joined the Oakland Raiders this offseason as a free agent, one of the first things he wanted to do was check out the player he was going to line up next to.

After Lofton, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal after being released by the Saints, joined with the Raiders, he was asked about Mack, who shined last season at strongside linebacker as a rookie. Lofton said he wanted to see Mack, the fifth overall pick in 2014, before commenting on him.

After several OTA sessions, the verdict is in for Lofton. “Monster,” Lofton said on Tuesday.

What most stands out to Lofton about Mack is his approach to the game. Despite his rookie success, Mack still walks around the Raiders' facility as if he has a lot to prove.

“He comes every day to work,” Lofton said. “He studies and goes out there and executes it on the football field. Some guys, if they have a good year that first year as rookies, they are Mr. Joe Cool and that’s not him. He comes to work every single day.”

Mack’s attitude stood out to me last season. No matter his success, he was always humble and downplayed his success. That approach is clearly winning over his older teammates.

Other notes from Tuesday’s OTA session:

  • Left tackle Donald Penn is pleased with new center Rodney Hudson. He was the Raiders' free-agent priority, signing a five-year, $44.5 million deal. “He’s worth every penny,” Penn said.

  • Penn is a Los Angeles native and diehard Lakers fan. But he did say he is pulling for the Raiders' neighbor, the Golden State Warriors, in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James. “I’m a LeBron hater. I admit it.”