On Monday, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, outside linebacker Khalil Mack finished his NFL Combine workouts. According to Jeff Reynolds of NFLDraftScout.com, reported on CBSSports.com, Mack had a “strong all-around workouts.”
Prior to the NFL Combine, different NFL Draft experts from websites like ESPN.com and NFL.com projected Mack to be selected inside the first 10 picks of the 2014 NFL Draft. NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock was the highest on Mack, according to Mike Huguenin of NFL.com.
Mayock told Minneapolis radio station KFAN on Friday morning that he would Mack first overall, according to Huguenin.
You talk about a kid like [Jadeveon] Clowney, who’s just got superhuman abilities, versus (Mack), and if I had a choice between the two, I think I’m taking Mack,” Mayock said.
NFL.com listed Mack at 6-feet, 3-inches tall and weighing 251 pounds. He was a First-Team All-MAC, Mid-American Conference, selection three times, 2011-2013, and he was also a second-team All-American this past season, according to NFL.com.
University of South Carolina defensive end Jadaveon Clowney is listed on NFL.com at 6-feet, 5-inches tall and weighing 266 pounds, according to NFL.com.
He was a First-Team All-SEC, Southeastern Conference, selection two times and a First-Team All-American one time. In 2012, he finished sixth in the Heisman Voting and was named the SEC Player of the Year, according to NFL.com.
Clowney is so talented that four NFL.com Experts, Bucky Brooks, Matt Smith, Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis, picked him to be selected first overall by the Houston Texans in their respective Mock Drafts.
Mack not only had a strong performance at the NFL Combine, but he also outperformed Clowney in every workout the two participated in except for the 40-yard dash.
The NFL Combine began on Saturday and it will end on Tuesday. Mack’s first NFL Combine workout was the Bench press on Sunday, according to NFL.com.
The bench press is a test of strength — 225 pounds, as many reps as the athlete can get. What the NFL scouts are also looking for is endurance. Anybody can do a max one time, but what the bench press tells the pro scouts is how often the athlete frequented his college weight room for the last 3-5 years,” according to NFL.com.
Mack completed 23 repetitions, reps, which was tied for 11th-best among linebackers, according to NFL.com. Not only did he complete more reps than many fellow linebackers, but he also completed more reps than Clowney.
Clowney completed two fewer reps than Mack did; 21, according to NFL.com. Another workout Mack had a better score than Clowney at was the vertical jump.
The vertical jump is all about lower-body explosion and power. The athlete stands flat-footed and they measure his reach. It is important to accurately measure the reach, because the differential between the reach and the flag the athlete touches is his vertical jump measurement,” according to NFL.com.
Mack posted the second-highest vertical jump among his fellow linebackers with a 40.5-inch vertical. His vertical jump was two-and-a-half inches better than Clowney’s; 37.5-inch vertical.
The only category Clowney bested Mack in was the 40-yard dash.
The 40-yard dash is the marquee event at the combine. It’s kind of like the 100-meters at the Olympics: It’s all about speed, explosion and watching skilled athletes run great times. These athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. What the scouts are looking for is an explosion from a static start,” according to NFL.com.
Prior to the NFL Combine, Clowney said that he could run the 40-yard dash in the 4.4 range. He came close to running in that range with an official 4.53-second 40-yard dash, according to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com.
Clowney’s 40-yard dash time was significantly faster than Mack’s time.
Mack ran an official 4.65-second 40-yard dash, according to NFL.com. This did not discourage Mack’s ‘strong’ performance.
Mack’s other NFL Combine performances were a 128.0-inch Broad jump, 7.08-seconds in the three cone drill and 4.18-seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, according to NFL.com. His performance was a little better than a player who has been four-time NFL Pro Bowler and an one-time First-Team NFL All-Pro selection, thus far in his career, according to pro-football-reference.com.
In 2009, University of Southern California linebacker Clay Matthews “had 23 reps, 10-1 broad jump and 1.49-second 10-yard split on a 4.62-second 40 (40-yard dash). His vertical was 35 1/2 at the combine, 35 at his pro day (shortly after the NFL Combine),” according to Reynolds.
The Green Bay Packers selected Matthews with the 26th-overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. In five seasons, he has been selected to four Pro Bowls, 2009-2012, and was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2010, according to pro-football-reference.com.
Matthews’ success in the NFL shows how sky-high Mack’s potential is. Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com reported that succeeding the Senior Bowl, Mack has even been mentioned in the conversation among some teams for the first-overall pick, according to Reynolds.
The Houston Texans have the first-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Mack’s ‘strong’ NFL Combine workouts has made the Texans’ decision for the player they will select with the first-overall pick even tougher.
For more information on Khalil Mack, check out Noah Weintraub’s article on him:
Tags: Khalil Mack