Khalil Mack – OLB
6’3” 251 lbs Buffalo
Pick 5, Round 1 (5) Raiders
The Oakland Raiders pulled the trigger on the first true linebacker in the draft, taking former 2-star high school recruit Khalil Mack. Coming from Buffalo, Mack wasn’t highly touted until this year but early in the draft process, it was clear that Mack was the real deal. Multiple mock drafts had him easily within the top 10 and many saying that even Houston’s 1.01 pick was in play. Mack’s playing style is one of a player who can both the most athletically gifted as well as the smartest player on any given defense. He is smart enough to diagnose plays quickly in order to shoot gaps and attack the ball. He is also athletic enough to move sideline to sideline, shed blocks and tackle hard. Mack possesses the best set of pass rush moves and ability of any linebacker in the draft. Downsides of the former Bull seem to be a tendency of the play up or down to his competition. He produced one of his best games against Ohio State but didn’t always have it against competition from the MAC. In addition, he can be prone to over-pursue and might be washed out of plays if he is not careful. Mack has drawn many comparisons to former 2nd overall pick Von Miller and I expect his early career to mirror the former Aggie. Mack should start week one at strong-side linebacker and occasionally will put his hand in the dirt on 3rd down where Tuck slides inside on the defensive line. I have little doubt that Mack is a three down LB for the Raiders but his tackle opportunities will not be as plentiful or consistent as fantasy owners would like.
Redraft: Mack is a safe redraft pick as he should easily start week one, however tackle heavy leagues will want to consider him as no better than a spot starter on individual fantasy teams. Big play leagues can bump Mack up to an upper to mid LB2 for individual fantasy teams.
Dynasty: Mack is the LB3 of this draft class for tackle heavy leagues for me due to playing SAM but is easily the LB1 of the draft in big play leagues. If Von Miller is a high scorer in your league, you want Khalil Mack.