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NFL Draft Player Profile: Buffalo Linebacker Khalil Mack

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Khalil Mack had a superb four-year career at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. On Thursday, ESPN NFL Draft Expert Mel Kiper Jr. projected Bulls’ linebacker Mack to be selected seventh overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Mack was an outside linebacker for the Bulls. He capped off a remarkable collegiate career by recording 100 tackles and 10.5 sacks this past season.

He finished his collegiate career with 327 tackles, 75 for loss, 28.5 sacks, 21 pass deflections and 16 forced fumbles. These impressive statistics have contributed to Kiper Jr. projecting him to be selected within the first 10 picks of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Kiper Jr. had the Buccaneers selecting Mack with the seventh overall pick in his latest mock draft. NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang wrote on Wednesday that Mack could be selected earlier than that in the 2014 NFL Draft, according to CBSSports.com.

” …That versatility could land him a spot in the top five,” Rang said. “Some, in fact, view him as a darkhorse candidate for the Texans at No. 1 overall.”

Numerous NFL Draft Experts have speculated that a quarterback or South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would be the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Rang writing that Mack could be the first overall pick in the draft, shows how talented he is.

Mack is 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 248 pounds. His best 40-yard dash time is 4.54 seconds, which allows him to be a very good player.

With his size and speed, he can maneuver past offensive linemen and effectively rush the quarterback or running back. There were numerous plays this past season where he not only beat the offensive lineman that was blocking him, but he also was the first defender to reach the quarterback or running back.

This contributed to Mack breaking the Football Bowl Subdivision, FBS, record for career forced fumbles and tying the FBS record for  career tackles for loss.

Even though he played in the ‘weak’ Mid-American Conference, he was able to show his dominance against ‘good’ teams this past season. Among the ‘good’ teams the Bulls played were Ohio State and Baylor.

The Buckeyes and the Bears finished this past season with a combined 23-4 record. This includes the Buckeyes playing in the Discover Orange Bowl.

In those two games, Mack was able to record a combined 13 tackles, two-and-a-half sacks and one interception. This shows that he is not intimidated when he plays good teams.

With his size and speed, he can also be effective in pass coverage. He is fast enough in order to shadow slot receivers and he has the size and strength to cover tight ends.

Matt Miller of NFLDraftScout.com compared Mack to Washington Redskins’ linebacker Brian Orakpo.

“Like Brian Orakpo, Mack has the ability to dominate with pure athleticism,” Miller said, according to Darren Page of Bleacher Report.

If Mack could perform in the NFL like Orakpo has, then he will have a very successful NFL career. In five season, Orakpo has 230 tackles, 39.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.

Mack has tremendous potential and it will be interesting to see who selects him in the 2014 NFL Draft. His skill set has the potential to upgrade some of the terrible defenses in the NFL.

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