Oakland Raiders Draft Countdown: Making the Case for Khalil Mack

The Oakland Raiders have a number of big decisions to make in the 2014 NFL draft, and the direction they choose to go in the first round is certainly the most significant.

After a successful free-agency period, addressing a number of glaring needs throughout the roster, there are plenty of possibilities for that first pick at fifth overall. 

However, with pressure from ownership to make quick improvement in the coming season, the potential to add an instant-impact player may help bring those options into greater focus. 

If available, the prospect with the best chance of becoming that kind of player for the Raiders, and one who projects well long term, is Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.

One of this year’s top two pass-rushers along with Jadeveon Clowney, Mack plays with the kind of power and speed off the edge that can make him a force at the next level.

In the Raiders’ 4-3 under defensive front, Mack would fit best in a role similar to that of Von Miller in Denver.

A strong-side linebacker in base sets, he would slide to defensive end in nickel situations, utilizing his potentially elite ability to get after the quarterback off the edge. 

Of course, Sio Moore currently holds that spot for the Raiders and is one of the more promising young players on the roster overall, but the linebacker group could easily be shuffled around to accommodate both players if Mack was brought in. 

What is especially interesting about this fit is the connection head coach Dennis Allen had with Miller and his emergence in the league. 

Allen was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator for Miller’s rookie campaign in 2011, where he more than lived up to his high draft status, totaling 11.5 sacks on his way to becoming the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year.

He flourished in his role in Allen’s defens...

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