LIONS INSIDER

LB Khalil Mack can be a versatile weapon

Posted Feb 23, 2014

Former Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack set an NCAA career record with 16 forced fumbles and is tied for first in NCAA history with 75 tackles for loss

Khalil MackLB Khalil Mack preparing for the NFL Combine. (Photo: AP Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – Only two Division I colleges recruited Khalil Mack when he was coming out of high school in Florida in 2009 -- Liberty and Buffalo.

Mack had only played one year of football and was only a two-star recruit at the time. He chose Buffalo.

Saturday, he stood behind a podium at the NFL Scouting Combine as a potential No. 1 overall pick. In fact, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Mack would be his No. 1 pick.

"Oh, Mike Mayock is the man," Mack said. "He's the man, I want to prove him right. I've been working hard this past 5-6 weeks and I'm ready to grind and get out there to work out."

The super-athletic Mack (6-3, 251) set an NCAA career record with 16 forced fumbles and is tied for first in NCAA history with 75 tackles for loss. He also has 28.5 career sacks.

Against Ohio State in Week 1 of this past season, Mack had nine tackles, 2.5 sacks an interception and a touchdown. He finished the year with 100 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and three interceptions.

The biggest question facing Mack, besides where he'll end up in the draft, is whether teams project him more as a 3-4 outside linebacker or outside in a 4-3 scheme.

"My versatility helps me in a lot of ways," he said. "If you have a guy who can rush the passer, as well as drop in coverage, that covers two of the big issues on the defense."

One talent evaluator down at the Combine told me Mack could be a monster in a 4-3 scheme as a SAM linebacker.

Teams like the Lions, who run a 4-3, could use Mack on the strong side on first and second down and then utilize his pass rushing skills on third down as an off-the-edge rusher, or even as a defensive end.

Mack allows a defensive coordinator to be versatile and dial up a lot of different schemes. He can play in a lot of different situations.

Teams can find ways to get a super talented player like Mack on the football field and in positions to make an impact.

He's certainly in the mix at No. 10, if he's still on the board.