Major 'backer

Is Khalil Mack worthy of a top five spot along with Clowney and Manziel?

Originally Published: March 18, 2014
By Staff | ESPN The Magazine

Khalil MackTimothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY SportsScouts think Mack, the all-time FBS leader in forced fumbles, is worthy of his spot atop draft boards.

BUFFALO LINEBACKER Khalil Mack has crashed the top 10 of mock drafts the same way he blew up MAC backfields. But is the all-time FBS leader in forced fumbles (16) worthy of joining the likes of Clowney and Manziel in the top five? We asked an NFL scout for his assessment, then had our analysts and Mack himself assess the assessment.


The scout
Khalil Mack is phenomenal. He can be All-Pro at either inside or outside linebacker.1 He's instinctive and strong, and he's a football player through and through.2 Mack is a late bloomer -- he had scholarship offers from just Buffalo and Liberty coming out of high school.3 The only knocks I could find are that he got suspended in 2012 after a fight with a teammate,4 and he played a low level of competition.5 But we're not looking for choirboys, and regarding the competition level, watch him against Ohio State last year. I've never seen a player dominate OSU the way he did (9 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, 45-yard pick six).6 How often do you see a linebacker keep a team in the game? He's sick.7