Draft

Alabama LB Mack Wilson's 1st press conference as a Cleveland Brown

On describing his playing style:

“First off, I feel like I’m a great leader, a great role model. I have the ability to play sideline to sideline. I have the ability to cover running backs and tight ends and just to be that signal caller on the field. I feel like my play style kind of affects how everybody else play. I’m going to try my best to bring that winning attitude to Cleveland.”

On if he was expecting to be selected higher in the draft:

“The last three days have been kind of rough. I was expecting to go hopefully late first or second, latest was third. I didn’t know I was going to slip all the way to the fifth round. I’m blessed to be able to be in this opportunity. I’m not complaining. These opportunities don’t come often. I’m just ready to get to work and just ready to get with the guys on the team and find that veteran who I’m going to follow in their footsteps to try to soak up the game as much as I can.”

On if he is going to use the fall in the draft as motivation:

“Of course. That chip is going to always be on my shoulder. I’m going to always think about it.”

On playing for Alabama:

“Coming in my freshman year, I knew I was going to have some guys in front of me. That shows you my will to just compete and try to get a spot on the team. I know Shaun Dion was there, Reuben Foster, Rashaan Evan, Keith Holcombe. I knew all those guys were in front of me, but that wasn’t going to stop me from coming to Alabama than try to take the easy route to another school where I know I could possibly start my freshman year. I learned as much as I can from those guys, and I feel like they helped me develop my game to a different level. My junior year, I got a chance to start and I just feel like it was natural because I sat behind all those veterans guys who knew the game and I was able to learn a lot. That was my time to do it. It was second nature to me.”

On if he played mostly ILB at Alabama:

“Yes sir.”

On if he believes he is best suited for ILB in a 4-3 defense:

“Yes sir.”

On playing for Nick Saban and how it prepares players for the NFL:

“It is good playing for coach Saban. Obviously, he is a great coach, one of the greatest coaches in college football. I was able to learn a lot from him and to just be able to be surrounded by a lot of great guys across the country and play at the University of Alabama. The program at Alabama, I feel like it prepares you for the next step. It always had me prepared. I just feel like we work extremely hard there, and I’m well prepared for the next level. I just have to have that mindset and get ready to go at it and work even harder.”

On deciding to declare early for the draft:

“It wasn’t a difficult choice honestly. These opportunities don’t come often. At the end of the day, I wanted to be able to help take care of my family, and I felt like I was the best linebacker in the draft. I gave it a chance. I did a lot for the University of Alabama and I still feel like I haven’t reach my full potential yet. I want to be able to reach my full potential in the National Football League and continue to produce as a player and as a man and just bring that winning attitude to Cleveland.”

On what he knows about Ohio and the Browns:

“Ohio, I know that is where LeBron James is from. He is obviously a legend in Ohio. As far as the Browns, I know (Head) Coach (Freddie) Kitchens played at the University of Alabama and he is a great coach obviously. Guys like (WRs) Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, guys that I looked up to when I was younger in junior high. I can’t wait to meet those guys and kind of just look up to those guys and follow in their footsteps.”

On if he is disappointed he did not go earlier in the draft:

“I’m not disappointed at all. Most of all, I’m thankful for this opportunity.”

On if he feels like he has to prove people wrong, given his draft position and an evaluation that he should have returned to school:

“Not necessarily I feel like I have to prove people wrong but I just want to show that in this draft I was the best linebacker. There were 31 teams that slipped up on me, and somebody is going to have to feel all the pain that I had built up these past few days.”

On if his best ability is his running ability and fluidity:

“My game, I feel like I can stop the run, I can rush the passer and I can cover. I can do it all. Whatever the Browns need me to do and whatever coach Kitchens need me to do, I will get the job done.”

On the story behind his back tattoo:

“It is a portrait of my two friends that I grew up with, two close friends – one of them actually my cousin and the other one was my friend. One of them was shot through his house. He was in the bed; he was shot in his sleep. The other one died in a car accident. They were real close to me and they impacted my life in a big way. Grew up together, played sports together. I feel like I just had to show my tribute to them, and I wanted to get that tattooed on me because I always want them to be with me.”

On how long ago his cousin and friend passed away:

“(My friend) died in 2016 my senior year of high school, and my cousin died two years ago.”

On how important his mom has been in his life:

“She plays a big role in my life. She was always around when we were younger. She always took care of all of her kids, which is five of us. She is a strong woman. I feel like she deserves to be taken care and I just want to be able to help her because she did a lot for us. I just want to take care of my mom really. These past few days, it really hasn’t been that stressful because we kind of tried to take our mind off it and just kind of try to enjoy each other and enjoy my family. It really wasn’t that stressful. In my mind, I’m thinking about it. I’m walking back pacing, waiting on a call, but my family was here to help me stay calm and my friends. It has been a fun journey.”

On if Kitchens called him following the pick:

“Yes, sir.”

On his conversation with Kitchens:

“He called and he was like, ‘Are you ready to be a Cleveland Brown?’ I was like, ‘Yes, sir.’ It was kind of like the conversation that we had the night of the Combine. Coach Kitchens was down there. His guys were real cool. He knows where I come from, Alabama. He played at Alabama so we were able to get along well. I feel like Coach Kitchens is a great coach. I can’t wait to see what this year brings. My goal is that I want to get us to the Super Bowl. I want to be able to be a part of the success that we are going to have this year and contribute in any way that I can.”

On what led significant changes in his lifestyle and his ability to stay on the right track:

“It was when I was younger. I had a lot of friends who were doing bad things. I just came to my senses and was like, ‘These are not the right things for me to be doing if I want to get to where I want to get to in life.’ It really did not click for me until eighth grade in junior high. I got kicked out of junior high school and had to go to an alternative school. I was just over there where they were thinking that I was not supposed to be over there. It just clicked for me. I was in the ninth grade, and that was when I met (Redskins LB and former Alabama LB) Shaun Dion Hamilton. He played at (George Washington) Carver (High School) and I told my mom that I wanted to transfer over there. I feel like ever since I transferred over there that the sky was the limit for me. He helped me out tremendously. He helped me stay on track. He is just somebody that I can look up to.”

On helping bring a winning mentality to the Browns:

“There is definitely a mindset of toughness. A winning attitude, I have been winning all of my life. I went to Alabama to win and compete with the best players in the country. I am going to the National Football League where everybody is as good as me or even better so I know I have to go in and compete and work hard. I just want to bring that winning attitude and that leadership to the Cleveland Browns. With me being a rookie, that does not stop anything because I am still going to try my best to be a leader. I am still going to try my best to work my way into a starting role on special teams or wherever else on the field. Whatever Coach Kitchens needs me to do, I will do it.”

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