I started this blog section to contain my daily Vikings/random thoughts. Some might make it on the podcast, others… Others not so much.
I heard about this really talented LB from an obscure MAC school (Buffalo) last year. A guy who could get home against double and triple teams consistently. A guy who could still muddy a pocket even though the QB, O-Line, Coordinator, heck the entire stadium knew where he was on every play. Mack was good, but I figured he’d be another small school/small conference guy who’d fall by the wayside. Maybe be a solid special teams guy for an NFL team down the line.
Then Ohio State.
Opening weekend at THEE Horseshoe, Ohio State brings in the Buffalo Bulls as their early season “cupcake” game as most big schools do to small schools. Especially early. Especially home games.
Buffalo obliged, they ended up losing 40-20 in a game that was firmly controlled by the Buckeye throughout. But one positive for the Bulls was the play of #46. Khalil Mack.
Even though the Buckeye offense was cruising, Mack was a rock in their shoe all day. Disrupting the running game, getting after Braxton Miller, and being an overall defensive force against a big time college offense that KNEW he was the ONE guy they needed to stop.
Despite their best efforts, Mack was able to get 9 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a pick-6 on a HB screen where he outran Braxton Miller and RB Dontre Wilson (both significantly faster than Mack) in a 45-yard footrace to the house.
The Dude is special.
By all accounts, he did himself a solid at the Combine this week. 4.65 in the 40, 40” vertical jump, 23 reps on the bench press (225 lbs), and a 7.08 3-cone drill. And put some significant distance between him and fellow LB/edge rusher Anthony Barr out of UCLA.
His college resume and solid Combine may put him out of our reaches at #8, but then again a “QB Land Rush” might just let him fall into our laps. Atlanta aside, you could make a case that the other 6 teams ahead of use could be looking to draft a new QB. In a draft where 4 QBs could go Top-10 and no one would raise much muss – Teddy, Bortles, Johnny, and Carr the Younger.
Add in that Clowney will be a slam dunk Top-5 pick with his mythical Combine performance and the Vikings could easily come away with the Pride of Buffalo in May at 8. And the more I learn about the kid, the more I’m all-in on it.
Plug him in at Sam LB. Audie at MLB as his brief, but solid audition last season gives him the inside track for. Then either a restructured Chad Greenway at the weakside LB spot, or possible give Mauti or Hodges a look there if we wanted to go complete youth movement on the defense.
Bottomline, Khalil Mack is a disruptive force that would be a great addition and upgrade for the NFL’s 32nd ranked defense in 2013. If Mack dons a purple jersey, I’d bet a $5 Footlong that both Mike Zimmer and George Edwards would do some sort of high five/flying chest bump.
He’s a monster talent on a defense and TEAM that sorely needs it.