Khalil Mack Spent Offseason Running Hills to Build Speed


Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) leaves the field against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last year outside linebacker Khalil Mack did a little bit of everything as the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft with the Oakland Raiders. Primarily a pass rusher, Mack ended up earning a ton of recognition for his ability to stuff the run, something that put Mack in the Pro Football Focus Top 100 in his rookie season as one of the best players in the league.

More from Las Vegas Raiders News

Still despite his strong overall play, Mack was lacking as a rookie in the sacks department, something that was a knock on the talented prospect for some. Mack finishing with four sacks, including two in a win over the San Francisco 49ers, but fans and analysts had to wait until Week 10 for the rookie to get the first of his career. Something that aided box score critics who were disappointed in Mack’s sack total, but ignored his production in pressuring quarterbacks on a consistent basis despite not always getting a sack at the end of the play.

Putting up a strong rookie season, Mack has spent his offseason making sure that he will be an even more explosive pass rusher as the Raiders focus on turning the outside linebacker into a specialist at getting after the quarterback. An intense offseason workout program adding to Mack’s transformation from a small school standout at Buffalo in college to a player many expect to be a future All-Pro in the NFL by becoming a franchise pass rusher for the Raiders.

According to a tidbit in a recent ESPN feature, Mack spent his winter/early spring running hills in a weighted vest to build his explosiveness and cardio to rush the passer in 2015. A workout program that makes sense with Mack factoring to be used even more as a pass rushing specialist under new head coach Jack Del Rio.

Mack’s move to pass rushing on nearly every down seems natural as the Raiders will look to get the most out of a special talent, and pressuring the quarterback seems to be the most effective way to go about doing that for the franchise. Building speed will also help Mack in coverage when needed, but it looks like with Jack Del Rio coming in the cornerstone of the Raiders future on defense is looking to be a Von Miller type at outside linebacker. Which means plenty of speed and plenty of rushing the quarterback in Mack’s future, a future that he spent the offseason preparing for.