Khalil Mack is one of the blue-chip prospects in this year’s draft class, and he could end up being a top five pick this year. I think he’s one of the top five draft prospects overall, but his chances of getting picked in the top five depend upon how early top quarterbacks like Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel come off the board. Mack has the versatility to succeed as a 3-4 OLB, 4-3 OLB, or even a 4-3 DE, and his motor makes him a dangerous pass rusher and run defender.
Jadeveon Clowney is my top-rated prospect in this year’s draft class, but there’s a chance Mack could be selected before Clowney, even if Clowney has ridiculous physical tools. Not only does Mack have much better work ethic than Clowney, but there are those who simply think he’s the better player.
It sounds like respected draft analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network is one of them, as he told KFAN, via the NFL Network’s Mike Huguenin, that he would select Khalil Mack over Clowney. It’s not a far-fetched statement, but it is surprising and interesting. Mayock, of course, cited Mack’s dominant game against Ohio State, in which the Buffalo product showcased his top-notch motor. While I think Clowney is the best prospect in the draft, Mack is up there as well.
Auburn Tigers offensive tackle Greg Robinson is another incredibly impressive blue-chip prospect, and the “Robinson or Jake Matthews?” debate at offensive tackle is even more compelling than the Clowney-Mack debate among front seven prospects. While Mack and Clowney are both better prospects than Matthews and Robinson, the two elite SEC OTs are right up there and are also top ten picks.
Matthews is viewed as the “safer” of the two, whereas Robinson is viewed as “safe enough” and has the added bonus of having ridiculous upside. He is an absolutely nasty run blocker with his strength and size, and both his run blocking and upside could make him the first OT off the board. Per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas, Robinson did 32 reps on the bench press to beat out Matthews’s 24, and that gap only confirms just how strong Robinson is.