The Oakland Raiders signed free agents LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck this offseason to help shore up their defense, and they used their fifth overall pick to improve their defense even more.
Oakland drafted University of Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack with their fifth pick, and are expecting him to help the linebacker position out immediately. Mack was considered by the Texans for the first overall pick, but they couldn’t justify drafting him over Jadeveon Clowney.
Mack is considered the best outside linebacker in the draft by most analysts, and the Raiders couldn’t pass him up. He was able to shine for four years with Buffalo, and proved even against better competition that he was a legitimate top prospect. The Raiders believe that they have gotten a future leader for their defense, and a player who is more than capable of putting up huge numbers.
He has all the skills and physical ability to be an elite pass rusher off the edge, and has incredible size and strength for his speed. There are a few things that coaches can’t teach, and those things are instincts and passion. Mack has both of those two things, and many believe that the chip on his shoulder from being drafted after Clowney will power him to work even harder to prove his critics and doubters wrong.
As is the case with any NFL Draft prospect, there are some concerns that surround Mack’s future with the Raiders. His pass coverage skills are not very good at this point, and he will be a liability in that aspect. He did prove himself against good competition like Ohio State occasionally, but played against lower competition for the majority of his career. That doesn’t appear to be a big concern at this point, but it is something to keep an eye on.
Overall, the Raiders made the right choice by selecting Mack. Despite the concerns that can be brought up about him, his work ethic and new coaching staff will be able to improve all of his issues. The future hasn’t looked brighter for the Raiders’ defense, and Mack will be able to learn a lot from the veteran defenders that they signed this offseason.
Khalil Mack Draft Grade: A-