Raiders’ Khalil Mack is No. 1 on NFL’s ‘Making the Leap’

 Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Around The NFL crew has put together a list of the players they believe will be “Making the Leap” in 2015.

No. 1 on the list is Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack.

Mack started 16 games last season, recording 76 tackles and four sacks. He was regarded as one of the NFL’s best rookies with those numbers.

“Mack was the best player at his position this past year, and according to Pro Football Focus, there were only a handful of players around the league who pressured opposing quarterbacks more frequently,” wrote Connor Orr. “Unfortunately, Mack is not regularly put in a position where he can fall backwards and catch a football with one hand, so he’ll have to live on through those who have watched him star in a middling Raiders defense from a year ago.”

“…The best part about Mack is his versatility. He can make phenomenal plays look routine for a stand-up linebacker against the run, but his most natural abilities come in the pass rush. While we have no idea how much his offseason weight gain will impact his mobility, all early reports have Mack ready to take on more of a pressure role in 2015. After loading up on linebackers this offseason, perhaps Jack Del Rio is looking to make Mack something closer to what Von Miller is in Denver.”

The Raiders could surprise a lot of teams this season with Del Rio at the helm, Mack and QB Derek Carr entering their second season and first-round pick Amari Cooper training to be the best.

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