Never one to shy away from mocking linebackers to the worst team in the NFL (snicker), Mel Kiper has veered a bit off of the established narrative of Clowney vs. Bortles vs. Bridgewater vs. Manziel as it pertains to the newest Houston Texan in the 2014 NFL Draft. In Kiper's Mock 3.0, he now has Rick Smith & Company taking Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack with the first overall pick, which would hypothetically make him the second top overall pick from the MAC in the last two years. Here is what Kiper had to say about the selection:
The Texans are in some ways like Kansas City drafting at No. 1 last year in that they don't fit the profile of a team drafting so high. The personnel situation isn't terrible; the defense can keep them in games; they have a new head coach who has a good track record with quarterbacks and may not be content to wait on a rookie QB to develop when he could be winning. Mack is a fit in most systems, but he'd excel in this system as a pass-rusher and a player who can back up and make plays in space and to the edges. Houston hasn't been active in free agency, but Mack can fill a role and be a key contributor early for a team that can start winning again. And it's been almost a full year since a player from the MAC went No. 1, right?
Coincidentally, I have been studying Romeo Crennel's defense of late to see if Mike Mayock may have been on to something all the way back in February when he said he would take Mack first overall.
"He's explosive off the edge, he's tough, he's twitchy, he's got a little edge about him," Mayock said of Mack.
Buffalo opened the season with a loss to Ohio State, but Mayock said that when he watched tape of that game, "[Mack] dominated Ohio State like nobody I've ever seen dominate them."
Mayock also said that Mack is "really a good kid off the field" as well.
"You talk about a kid like [Jadeveon] Clowney, who's just got superhuman abilities, versus this kid, and if I had a choice between the two, I think I'm taking Mack," Mayock said.
My conclusion, or at least the short version of it so far, is that I now have a third member of my personal "first overall wishlist". My last mock draft all the way back on January 20th saw Bridgewater, Clowney, and Mack go one, two, and three, respectively, and at the time I really only saw the first overall pick as a two horse race. Now, however, I am not so sure. The more I study Crennel's defense, watch Khalil Mack's tape, and gush over his insane Combine measurables, I cannot help but get excited at the possibility of the former Buffalo Bull becoming...well...a Bull on Parade. More in depth tape study to back up my assessment will be coming shortly, but suffice to say that Jadaveon Clowney is to Tamba Hali what Khalil Mack is to Justin Houston. Can you really go wrong with either one of them?
Yeah...I didn't think so either.