Khalil Mack to the Raiders: Oakland Finally Gets It Right
The Oakland Raiders just got themselves a darn good football player. And I'm not saying "football player" as many guys do as an excuse to why they like a guy who didn't produce a ton in college. Khalil Mack went freaking nutso for Buffalo, and I see no reason to think that won't continue in the NFL.
One look at Mack's collegiate stats will make your knees weak. In 13 games during his final season, Mack recorded 100 tackles. Nineteen of those were tackles for loss with a total of 98 yards lost. So yummy.
Mack's main job at the next level will be getting pressure on the opposing team's quarterback. In 2013, he recorded 10.5 sacks and six additional quarterback hurries. Yeah, I think he'll be okay at this job. This also means that, of his 19.0 tackles for loss, 8.5 were on designed rushing plays. For a linebacker, that's luscious.
That's not to say that Mack just murked opposing offenses with his tackling abilities. This dude also helped create at least 11 turnovers on the season. He finished with three interceptions, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Overall, Mack's 16 career forced fumbles are an NCAA record.
I said he created "at least" because he also broke up seven passes and had 10 deflections. He covered every aspect of "rips, strips and tips because tips lead to picks." Basically, the man just made plays all over the field.
I will grant to all of you the contention that, because Mack played in the MAC (dude was clearly made for that conference), his statistics are less significant than those of Jadeveon Clowney. That's true, and I'm not trying to compare him to Clowney because they are two very different players. But, a look deeper into Buffalo's schedule shows that Mack did show up big when they played quality opponents.
The Bulls opened the season against a team that, at the time, was the number two team in the country in The Ohio State Buckeyes. In that game, Mack had nine tackles, an interception (which he returned 45 yards for a touchdown bee tee dubs), and 2.5 sacks. The Buckeyes won 40-20, but Mack probably made that game a lot closer than it otherwise would have been.
Mack's presence on the Raiders should be fairly immediate. Although their needs on pass defense weren't as well defined as teams like Atlanta and Houston, Oakland needed something to turn it around.
On the season, the Raiders finished with the fourth worst Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) in the league. If you're new to numberFire and don't know what NEP is, you can click here for a full explanation. A positive NEP on defense is bad. The Raiders were very positive against the pass. By "very bad," I mean they allowed 101.33 points more than an average team on pass plays alone this year. Yucko. For comparison, the Seahawks and the Legion of Boom finished with an Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP of -93.84.
If Mack can get some pressure on the opposing passer, that'll make it a bit easier on the Oakland secondary which has struggled pretty mightily over the last couple of years. With Mack's statistical sauciness, that's not a bad bet to make.