A popular series from last draft cycle is returning yet again at Stampede Blue. Last offseason, I interviewed over 40 prospects that could eventually be fits for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2019 NFL Draft. As a result, we were able to find out a lot about two Colts who went on to eventually be drafted by the team in Marvell Tell III and Khari Willis. This year I hope to interview even more prospects so you all can get an inside look at these player’s accomplishments and mindsets going into this next draft.
Our next prospect interview is linebacker Jordan Mack from Virginia. Mack is an underrated player in this draft class who plays with a ton of physicality. We had a great conversation about his off the field work, his versatility on defense, and what he brings to an NFL team.
6’3” 241 pounds
69 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
Fit with the Colts:
The Colts obviously don’t need another linebacker in this draft as they have drafted six in the last three draft classes. If they do decide to take another linebacker though, I would expect it to be a player who fits in a similar mold as Anthony Walker (a potential free agent in 2021). Mack is not a great coverage backer but he is a smart player who could excel in a similar run and chase type of Mike role that Walker has had success in the last few seasons. While Bobby Okereke appears to be the future at that position, Mack could be a solid late round depth player if Walker does leave in 2021.
Mid-Late Day 3
RIGHT PLACE - RIGHT TIME@mandy_alonso55 pounces on the loose ball as UVA forces the Hokies’ first turnover of the game after Jordan Mack caused the fumble. UVA takes over at its own 41-yard line. #GoHoos— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) March 29, 2020
You can watch the replay of the UVA/VT game on @accnetwork. pic.twitter.com/aht1J4ToNB
Former 3-star recruit, Jordan Mack caught my eye today. Was recruited as a defensive back and has moved to linebacker since arriving to Virginia. Two years ago, he had 114 tackles in 13 games but only played 9 games last year and recorded 66 tackles. Looks fearless on this one pic.twitter.com/6vI7VEZM8p— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) July 15, 2019
Campbell Trophy Alert— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) October 30, 2019
The @NFFNetwork has announced that Jordan Mack (@JTmack4) is one of 12 finalists for the coveted Campbell Trophy. He is the 6th all-time UVA finalist for the award dubbed the Academic Heisman.#GoHoos | #FootballMatters
ZH: I saw that you were the Jim Tatum Award winner this past season which is an award for great student athletes I believe. What did it mean to you to receive that award?
JM: It meant a lot because Coach Mendenhall at Virginia does a great job of preaching “and.” One of our principles of “and” is to be a great student and a great athlete and not trading off and being an “or” player. It meant a lot that I could add to the program and do my part to add to that culture of “and”.
ZH: I also saw that you did a lot of community service work at UVA. Why was that a big focus for you?
JM: Yeah that is just another aspect of “and” just being more than a football player. I felt like I could get out there and have an impact on the community as an athlete and knowing that the community has an impact on us as individuals goes a long way. Just seeing how you can bring a smile to someone’s face can not only change your day but change theirs as well.
ZH: Is that something that you are looking to continue doing in the NFL?
JM: Oh yes definitely. It is just part of who I am and I feel like it is important to be in the community and give a voice to the people who are and aren’t in need and show them all that there are people in this world that care about you.
ZH: You were named a Team Captain for UVA last year. What did it mean to you to be named a Captain and be a leader for such a talented team?
JM: It meant a lot especially because we do it through player voting so it was a great honor to have my teammates view me in that manner and allow me to represent them as a whole. It really meant a lot that my teammates viewed me as the guy to represent them in meetings and to the media as well.
ZH: To become a leader, it takes a lot of work behind the scenes over many years. How did you build up that rapport in the locker room with those guys and what kind of leader would you say you are?
JM: I would just say work shows a lot and guys can tell authenticity when they see it. It is just all about working and working and working and speaking up when you see something that needs to be fixed. Do your work and let the guys see you are going to hold up your end of the bargain while also encouraging them to hold up theirs is a big part of my leadership.
ZH: Going to your film, you are an aggressive player who likes to come downhill. How big is that fearlessness and physicality to your game?
JM: Very important because it is the game of football. That is what it is all about, making other guys feel you. Flying around with a ton of energy and hitting every player you can is just a part of the game and that is one thing that makes the game exciting.
ZH: Film preparation is big for every position but I imagine it is huge for linebackers. How do you go about your film preparation and what are you looking for in opposing offenses?
JM: I’m just looking at formations and what type of players I’m facing from game to game. I break it down by what I’m looking for in the run game one day and then the next day I’m looking at their favorite routes and combinations the next day while observing the little details of how certain players play. Just like to see what makes the opposing players unique in their game while also seeing how I can use that to my advantage against them.
ZH: Versatility is key for linebackers nowadays. I know you are a good run and chase run defender but how comfortable do you feel as a blitzer and also in coverage?
JM: In my time at UVA, I’ve done all of that and that shows with my versatility in moving around from Freshman year all the way to my Senior year. You can look at the film and the amount of positions I’ve played since my Freshman year alone shows my versatility in coverage and my comfort level with blitzing. I can pretty much do whatever I’m asked to do.
ZH: How prepared do you feel for this next step because of the development and coaching that you received at UVA?
JM: Oh yeah absolutely. A lot of guys who are in the league now come back and say that everything that Coach Mendenhall says and preaches in college comes back around in the NFL and helps you stand out and have the coaches at the next level notice you. It is a cut throat business making an NFL team but they definitely say that UVA has certainly prepared them to face those difficult situations by doing their best and giving high effort.
ZH: A big part for rookies in the NFL is impact on special teams. How would you be able to impact special teams as a rookie?
JM: I’m always a big team player so whatever the team needs me to do, that is what I’m going to do. If that comes with running down on kick-offs or being a front line guy on kick return then that’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to give it my all.
ZH: Last question for you. What is my team getting if they draft Jordan Mack?
JM: They are getting a consistent and hard working player that they don’t have to worry about off the field. On the field, he’s going to do anything and everything that is asked of him so they’ll never have to worry on or off the field about him. Just a consistent, even keeled guys who is ready to work and do what needs to be done.