Raiders’ Dennis Allen Gets His New Von Miller in Khalil Mack

Things have not gone well for the Oakland Raiders for a long time on or off the field. The moribund franchise plays in one of the worst stadiums in the NFL and hasn’t had a winning season or been to the playoffs since 2002.

One of the franchise’s issues has been finding talent in the draft. Either the Raiders have missed badly on their picks or traded them away for overpriced veterans.  

While the jury is still out on general manager Reggie McKenzie’s 2013 draft class, he has to be overjoyed with his first pick of the 2014 NFL draft—former University of Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack. Head coach Dennis Allen got his new Von Miller in Mack; the type of player the opposing offense must game-plan around.

“I envision his role being very similar to what we did with Von Miller,” Allen said via

In some ways, Allen owes Miller for getting the job in Oakland two years ago. After one year as defensive coordinator in Denver in 2011, Allen was so impressive McKenzie gave him the job. If all goes well, Allen may owe Mack for saving that job.

Miller carried the Denver Broncos to the playoffs in 2011. It was Denver’s defensive performances that made quarterback Tim Tebow’s late-game heroics possible. With Allen sitting squarely on the hot seat after two consecutive 4-12 seasons, he finally has the type of player he needs to turn the Raiders into a winner.


Lucky Break

If the draft success is more due to luck than skill, as Neil Paine of has suggested, then it’s possible that Oakland’s luck has finally turned around. According to Paine, there is a strong correlation between where a player was drafted and their career performance. This means the Raiders were likely to get a good player at No. 5 as long as they weren’t unlucky.

If the series of events that led to Mack f...

About the Author