Is Khalil Mack a Top 10 Talent?

At the beginning of the season, the questions were if Mack could sneak into the 1st round.

Oh how times have changed.

Mack was dominant in 2013, as he finished with 19 TFL’s, 10.5 sacks, and to prove he’s a play-maker, 7 passes broken up and 5 forced fumbles. So just how good is he? Let’s find out

Where He Excels

  • Overall Strength/Power
  • Array of Pass Rush Moves
  • Complete/Aware LB

Mack is the most complete outside linebacker in the draft, in my opinion. Mack can play on the weak-side, or strong-side of the formation. When he drops back in coverage, he’s very aware of where to drop, and does a good job of finding work. What’s most impressive when he drops back in coverage is his ability to ride the receiver to the top of the zone, and understand when to pass him along.

When Mack is on the strong side and needs to stop the run, it’s impressive. He will extend and lock out his arms, then shed the OL and make the play. He has incredible upper body strength for a player listed under 250 pounds. This is where he really wins in the run game. If continues to develop his hand usage, he’ll be dominant for a long time. On runs to the weak side, you’ll see good athleticism from Mack as he shows off his quickness and motor to make the tackle.

As a pass rusher, Mack shows off the similar power as he does in the run game. Where he walks OL into the QBs lap. He uses his hands better and more consistently as a pass rusher. He can counter, and help keep himself clean. Most importantly, he has several different pass rush moves. I already spoke on the bull rush, where he converts speed to power as well as anyone. He also will counter on a nice inside step, as well as simply bend the edge with a dip move.

Where He needs to Improve

  • Snap Anticipation
  •  Consistent Hand Usage

There aren’t many holes in Mack’s game. He’s clearly better coming forward than moving backwards. Him being acceptable in coverage is just an added bonus. Where Mack can get better at is his snap anticipation. When you watch him, he doesn’t explode of the LOS. He doesn’t have that “suddenness” or “quickness” off the line that you’d like to see from a top pick. This could be the one thing down the line that might keep him from being a star(though no matter what he’s likely to be successful.)

The other issue I have with Mack is he doesn’t consistently disengage. When he wins, it’s just him over powering people. I’d like to see him counter more, and continue to use his hands. This is common for most college defenders. If he’s able to understand how to use his hands consistently Mack will be very dangerous at the next level.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10   8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round   8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round   7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round   7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round   7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round   6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round   6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round   5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round   5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round   4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations   4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable     < 4.0


Trait Weight Grade
Vs. The Run 4 3.8
Pass Rush Ability 4 3.9
Read & React 3 2.7
First Step 2 1.4
Pass Rush Moves 2 1.8
Tackling 2 1.8
Coverage 2 1.7
Motor 2 2
Stack & Shed/Strength at POA 2 1.8
Feet/COD 2 1.8

Mack grades out to an 8.17, or a mid to late 1st rounder. He’s a complete player that is stout against the run, with above average take on skills. He has very good short area quickness, and can create power in just a few steps to create that game changing fumble. The only thing holding Mack back from being an elite top 10 player, is his first step off the LOS. I believe he’ll be best on the strong side, where he can continue to be disruptive in the backfield, and contribute as a potential 10 sack type player. Even if he doesn’t rack up sacks, I expect Mack to be a very valuable pass rusher in the NFL.