AFC East: Will Ta'ufo'ou

AFC East clubs looking at top center Mack

February, 19, 2009
2/19/09
7:48
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- California's Alex Mack is a blue-chip prospect at least two AFC East teams will be watching closely.

 
  Paul Jasienski/Getty Images
  Cal center Alex Mack might be a fit in the AFC East.
The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are looking for a center, and Mack is the top-rated player at the position.

Mack, however, won't be running or jumping around Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday with the rest of the offensive linemen. Cal fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou stepped on Mack's right ankle during a recent workout.

"I got really unlucky," Mack said Thursday. "Just kind of a freak accident. ... No one is more disappointed about it than I was."

Mack still can make an impression this weekend at the combine with his interviews. He already has met with the Bills. Other teams that have interviewed him include the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons.

"The Bills was one of those get-to-know-you sessions," Mack said. "I talked to them about the players who are already on the Bills. I know they have Langston [Walker] and Marshawn Lynch. There is a history of Cal people playing there."

Since he mentioned Lynch, this is where we tell you Mack won the Draddy Trophy as the college football's top scholar-athlete and graduated last year with a degree in legal studies. Insert your own zinger.

Mack is a shade below 6-foot-4 and weighs 311 pounds. He's projected as a late first- or early second-round draft pick.

He's probably not elite enough of a prospect for the Bills to draft him at No. 11, but the Dolphins hold the No. 25 selection, a more reasonable spot. The Bills aren't scheduled to pick again until No. 42, but could maneuver if they want him badly enough.

Teams already have had a chance to watch Mack up close at the Senior Bowl, where he also played guard.

"I think the Senior Bowl was really helpful," Mack said. "It was a great experience. It was fun to go out there with some NFL coaches and the scouts and just get a warm-up for this event.

"It also helped me showcase some talents of mine. I got to get some good playing time at guard and show that I can be a versatile lineman and play a lot of positions. So I had a lot of fun at the Senior Bowl."

The AFC East features three teams with 3-4 defenses, the Bills being the lone exception. Mack claimed he can play against the monstrous nose tackles that anchor 3-4 schemes.

"It's going to be a challenge," Mack said. "Anytime you face a tough opponent, every time there is some tough D-lineman, it's a challenge, and technique is something that I used at Cal to help me get there. Using technique can really help you defeat the really heavy guys, the powerful guys. It's about being a technically sound player that really makes you a good lineman."

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