Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack Ranked as Third Best Defensive Player by PFF


Oct 19, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) encourages the crowd to cheer during a break in the action against the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Khalil Mack may be the best rookie defensive player in the National Football League without a box score stat that shows that fact as without recording a single sack, Mack has been one of the most disruptive outside linebackers on the league and a lone bright spot on the 0-7 Oakland Raiders. That is evidenced on the game tape where Mack dominates tackles on a weekly basis, does solid pass coverage when needed, and puts pressures on the quarterback consistently.

Which is why it is no surprise that the ProFootballFocus metrics have Mack as one of the best graded defensive players in the league, ranking just below JJ Watt and Von Miller. High praise for a player who only hit the map with his Ohio State performance as a senior at Buffalo.

Mack’s best performance of 2014 came yesterday where he abused Joe Thomas and the Cleveland Browns for an outstanding +7.1 rating. Mack also blew up Brian Hoyer, but he is still missing his first sack.

From PFF’s Browns-Raiders ReFocused:

"Khalil Mack, OLB: +7.1Breakdown: Seems like we are praising Mack on a weekly basis, but he deserves it. He’s a game-changer in the running game and that was evident just by watching the Browns tight ends trying to block him. More often than not, they were knocked a few yards into the backfield, leaving the running back with little room to run and Mack with one of this team-high six stops. He also had two hits and four hurries on 24 rushes.Signature Plays: It’s Mack’s power in the running game that shows up every week. Whether it was his domination of TE Jordan Cameron at the 6:51 mark of the first quarter or his blowing up the Browns’ toss play by manhandling TE Jim Dray with 8:13 to go in the third quarter, Mack was living in the Cleveland backfield all afternoon."

Mack will lack the mainstream attention until he puts up sack numbers because the box score may not reflect just how good Mack has been, but there are alot of people in the football world who see Mack as the future of the Raiders defense. On an 0-7 it is hard to see positives even with players who are playing good, but watching the 2014 first round pick progress from week to week has been a treat for Raiders fans.