Saturday, April 5, 2014

College Football-NFL Comparisons: Khalil Mack

A couple of things you might not know about the University of Buffalo outside linebacker: He received a single scholarship offer to play college football, which he obviously accepted, and now with 16 forced fumbles in his career he holds the all time NCAA record. He was unquestionably the MAC defensive player of the year, and finished his career tied for first in career tackles for loss in the NCAA with an astonishing 75. Everyone sees Mack going in the first round, but many in fact see him going top 5. Although people love to talk about the level of competition he has faced in his career, on the big stage against Ohio State he recorded 9 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an interception returned for a touchdown. To me, some of the criticism Mack receives is blatantly unfair: Many say that he seems like such a complete player that he won't mature in the NFL; I.e, he has already reached his ceiling. This is frankly idiotic. The inane suggestion that because a player does not have an obvious and correctable flaw ready for improvement at the next level he therefore cannot improve in the NFL is bordering on humorous and definitely unfair. Setting this argument aside, most see Mack as an absolute defensive terror, and rightly so. Although he has done his work in the MAC, and that can't be ignored, it also is unfair to base a negative judgement on him simply because he played so well at a lower level than other popular collegiate players. Many think he could definitely do what he did in the SEC, for example, which would probably grant him Jadaveon Clowney status, or better in fact. I am inclined to agree, and I think like most that Mack resembles a talented NFL player already. In fact, he has drawn comparison with Von Miller. While this is obvious, and quite a compliment, a far more interesting comparison is between Khalil Mack and Bills' Mario Williams. It was Browns' head coach Mike Pettine who drew this fascinating comparison, between two players who don't even play the same position and definitely have different body types. But both players play best coming off the edge, so well that they change a game plan. In this respect, Mack deserves both comparisons, and the Browns for one would love to take him fourth overall.  

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