Detroit Lions 2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Khalil Mack


Nov 5, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack (46) and Ohio Bobcats cornerback Dyquan Stewart (20) during the first half at University of Buffalo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The SideLion Report Detroit Lions NFL Draft Prospect Profile series gives an in-depth scouting analysis of college football players who could be on the Lions’ radar this spring.

With so much depth at the receiver position, it’s not out of the question that the Lions may go in a different direction with their first round pick. Assuming Watkins is off the board, Mayhew may be faced with weighing the drop-off between the next highest receiver on the board and the quality of receiver the club can get in the second round and the highest rated prospect on the board at another position of need. If a defender like Khalil Mack is on the board, Mayhew may opt to wait until the second round to nab his complement to Megatron.

After viewing four games (Ohio State, Ohio, Toledo, Miami Ohio ), I gave Mack an slightly higher grade for teams employing a 34 front (8.5 – top ten, first round) than a 4-3 scheme (8.0 – 15-20, first round). Here’s an excerpt from his scouting report:

Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo

Height: 6025   Weight: 251   40 Time: 4.65

NFL Comparison: Ahmad Brooks

Strong Points:
Prototypical height and weight for the position. Outstanding athletic attributes – upper echelon speed and explosion. Stout versus the run – can hold his ground vs. downhill run blocks. Powerful, quick hands to stack and shed with ease. Effective pass rusher off the edge – can beat OL with speed or power. Instinctive with innate ability to create turnovers. Extremely productive, competitive and tough.

Is a bit tight in the hips when asked to redirect in space. Doesn’t have a lot of experience in coverage, particularly M/M – was asked to rush a lot off the edge in Buffalo’s 3-4 scheme. Has a tendency to freelance at times. Needs to finish more consistently. Production was against lower level competition.

The 2013 Jack Lambert Award winner finished his ultra-productive college career as Buffalo’s career leader in sacks (28.5), tied the NCAA TFL record (75) and set the NCAA record for FF (16). Though most of his production was against lower level competition, Mack clearly possesses the size and athleticism to be a impact player at the next level. With sideline to sideline range, the ability to consistently beat pass blocks off the edge and the strength to stack and shed versus the run, there really aren’t many holes in Mack’s game. When you combine his size and athleticism with his natural instincts and innate ability to create turnovers, you have a prospect who has the versatility to be productive in multiple schemes. The only question is his lack of experience in coverage, though his skill set projects him being effective in that regard as well. Teams who employ a 34 front will likely have him graded higher on their board, though he has the ability to be a highly effective SAM in a 43 front as well. Scheme diverse, first round, top ten choice.

Though his best fit is in a 3-4 scheme, the Lions would have to seriously consider an impact defender like Mack if he is on the board. Versatile defenders with his pass rush skills and play-making ability instantly upgrade a defense and are difficult to find.

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