With the 5th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
How Sports Talk Florida sees the pick…
A native of Fort Pierce, it’s hard to fathom that the state of Florida allowed this type of talent to get away.
But Buffalo was the only FBS school to offer Mack a scholarship, and that was after Robert Wimberly, an assistant who recruited him to play at Liberty University, accepted a job under Turner Gill.
Mack went on to thrive, starting all 48 games in his four years with the Bulls, becoming a one-man wrecking crew with every jarring hit delivered in opponents’ backfields.
In 2012, he finished with 8.0 sacks, 100 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles. In 2013, he finished with 10.5 sacks, 94 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss and three interceptions.
His best games came against his toughest opponents. Against Ohio State his senior season, he registered 9.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a 45-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
Mack finished his college career with an NCAA-record 16 forced fumbles and tying for first with 75 tackles for a loss. He also set school records with 28.5 sacks, 75 tackles for losses and 16 forced fumbles.
An explosive 3-4 outside linebacker, Mack can also play with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 defensive end.
He’s a high-effort guy with a rare mix of pass-rushing and coverage skills, and he’s stout against the run. If he played at a bigger school, he’d likely have gotten more consideration as the top overall pick.