Linebacker Malcolm Smith
After the Oakland Raiders wrapped up their first day of their 2016 Minicamp, linebacker Malcolm Smith spoke to the assembled media.
Here are the major takeaways from his press conference.
Smith spoke about his experience traveling to Mexico City for Day Three of the 2016 NFL Draft.
"It was great. We have a strong fan base down there. It's going to be great to see how the game turns out."
Heading into 2016, Smith expects the Raiders' defense to be an improved unit.
"I think we have improved talent-wise. I think we have improved from a football IQ standpoint, just bringing guys along and the guys we brought in are experienced and smart. We should be a lot better. I expect us to be a lot better."
He also shared what linebacker Bruce Irvin will add to the defense.
"I mean, obviously a lot of speed and a lot of athleticism, but hunger on third down rushing the quarterback. He's got stuff he wants to prove and I'm happy to see him here."
Smith has seen marked growth from fellow linebacker Ben Heeney.
"He's definitely grown a lot. This offseason has been big for him. Last year as a rookie, trying to just figure out your way and now he's trying to figure out how to make plays and be a real factor for everybody. He's communicating well and he's open. We're spending a lot of time together off the field and in the building, so it will be good for us."
Khalil Mack was good in 2015, but Smith hopes he's even better in 2016.
"You saw how dominant he can be. Teams are going to plan for that and we have to grow as a group around him to be able to free him up to make even more plays. We're trying to raise our level to his and he's trying to take his to the next level."