Khalil Mack “More Physical” Than Von Miller, Says Del Rio


Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) carries the football as Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) attempts to tackle in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack naturally draws a lot of comparisons to Von Miller as an outside linebacker in the AFC West who is a pass rushing specialist, the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft playing well enough in his first season for analysts and those in the league to compare him to the premier talent in the division in Miller. Mack exceeding expectations as a rookie despite only getting four sacks in his rookie season, pressuring the quarterback and stuffing out the run as the Raiders top defensive player in his first season with the franchise.

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Pro Football Focus gave Mack plenty of praise in 2014 for his play, even ranking the rookie as the top 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL last season. A ranking that was interesting considering that Miller came in second as the two AFC West OLB’s were tops in the league at the position in 2014. Justifying the comparisons made between the two very talented and young players even if Miller has had higher sack totals in his first four seasons in the league compared to Mack’s debut season in the NFL.

New Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio couldn’t help but to add to the comparisons recently as the head coach who spent his last season before coming to Oakland as the defensive coordinator of the Broncos weighed in on the Mack/Miller similarities by claiming that his new outside linebacker may have a bit of an edge over Miller in the physicality department. Adding that while they are both special that he feels Mack will end up being the more physically imposing talent in the NFL.

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In a recent column from Around the NFL on, Del Rio noted that Mack’s ability to naturally put on weight to get to the 260 pound range compared to Miller who is a natural 240 playing at around 250 pounds gives the Raiders OLB the ability to add more physicality to his pass rushing traits than the Broncos pass rusher.

“I think Khalil is way more physical than Von,” said Raiders coach Jack Del Rio in the Around the NFL piece. “Von got up to somewhere around 250 pounds when I had him but he’s naturally closer to 240. Khalil can be up around 260 or 265 and they both play that strongside linebacker position and sub-pass-rusher role. Since most teams use their sub packages for two-thirds of the game, there will be some opportunities there. They’re different but they’re both special.”

Mack comparisons to Von Miller are common, but it is still hard to compare the Raiders youngster to a proven star pass rusher as Miller has put up double digit sack totals in his three full seasons in the NFL. To compare that to a rookie who had four sacks in his first season compared to Miller’s 11.5 sacks in his debut 2011 season is high praise, but for now Mack is trying to get to his potential when it comes to reaching Miller. Even if he is close, it is difficult to claim Mack as the better outside linebacker at this stage of the two players NFL careers. That physical edge may make Mack the better player one day, but for now he is chasing his divisional rival to grab the title of best pass rusher in the AFC West.