OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Several months before he arrived at Baltimore Ravens rookie minicamp and stepped to a podium at the team’s headquarters Friday, Daylon Mack developed a hunch that he would wind up in this exact spot.
The 336-pound defensive tackle out of Texas A&M had the chance to work under Ravens assistant defensive line/outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins at the East-West Shrine Game in January. And Mack said Wilkins took a quick liking to him.
“After the first practice, he was like, ‘Hey, I called our people and said, ‘That guy plays like a Raven. We’re going to make him a Raven,’” Mack said with a wide grin in a small room at the Under Armour Performance Center on Friday.
Turns out Mack’s suspicion was right. So was Wilkins’ quasi guarantee. Despite carrying two talented defensive tackles on their roster, the Ravens used a fifth-round pick to draft Mack last month, welcoming a natural run-stuffer with a streak of pass-rushing ability onto the roster.
Mack’s time with Wilkins might’ve catalyzed his journey to Baltimore, but he said he needed to revive his college career about a year earlier to re-emerge as a bona fide NFL draft prospect. At Texas A&M, Mack saw his tackle and tackle for loss totals decline from his freshman to sophomore seasons and then again in his junior year.
In 2017, Mack was a draft eligible former five-star recruit who made just one start for the Aggies. His promise had faded. The prognosis for a professional career turned bleak.
But things changed for Mack when Texas A&M overhauled its coaching staff, he said. Jimbo Fisher replaced Kevin Sumlin as head coach and brought in a new crop of assistants who decided Mack needed to return to playing with fire and instincts.