Oakland Raiders Defense Now Built Around Khalil Mack

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Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack didn’t have his first sack until the 10th game of the season in 2014. He got his four sacks from games 10-16 and people started acting like he all of the sudden learned how to get to the quarterback. But that wasn’t the case as those sacks came in games that were close or the Raiders led—teams don’t throw when their up 21.

And unlike last year, head coach Jack Del Rio is going to put him in position to get more sacks. Playing 4-3 outside linebacker on team that almost never blitzes then lining up at end on third down like they did last year isn’t enough. Plus who he had playing around him in 2014 a didn’t do him whole lot of favors either but that has changed.

It all started with Del Rio hiring former Seattle Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr as defensive coordinator. Then in free agency, the Raiders continued building the defense around Mack. He will have a lot more opportunities to rush the passer and make plays in the backfield in 2015 as this team is looking like it will be making the wise decision to build things around their franchise pass rusher in the fifth overall pick from the 2014 NFL Draft in Mack.

Turn the page to see how and why the Raiders are building the defense around Mack.

Next: Personnel Moves