By Rich Winter
Despite playing on a woefully bad Oakland Raider team, Raiders rookie LB, Khalil Mack is getting some press for NFL, Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Coming out of the University of Buffalo, Mack was projected to be in the mold of a Denver-like Von Miller. Thus far, he's been exceptional against the run but hasn't recorded an NFL sack.
Excerpts from an Associated Press story on Mack's rookie impact.
The only thing lacking so far from Mack is something he was supposed to get frequently: a quarterback sack. Through seven games, Mack is still seeking his first sack despite being compared to pass rushing specialist Von Miller when he was drafted fifth overall in May.
"It's something that's kind of sitting on my mind," Mack said. "All my teammates talk about it. It will come soon enough but even then I'm working hard to get there."
But the sacks will come, Mack is getting closer and he's drawing praise from opposing players.
Mack has come awfully close, especially in recent weeks. He has been credited with 15 quarterback hurries and hits the past three games, according to Pro Football Focus, and his 22 pressures for the season are the most for any player without a sack.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson called him a spectacular player who was playing like the defensive rookie of the year heading into Sunday's game against the Seahawks.
And Pete Carroll was even more glowing in his reaction to facing off against Mack this weekend.
"He jumps off the film," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "Every one of our coaches, when they break up and start looking at the Raiders and taking seriously what they're doing well, everybody comes back talking about him. He's almost unblockable and he's got a great motor. He's fast, he's tough, he's instinctive. We think he's an obvious factor."
While there hasn't been much of a Silver and Black lining in Oakland this year, the Raiders defense looks like they have a young stud to build around. If Mack is to make a late push for rookie of the year, then he's got to start forcing fumbles and creating havoc, something Oakland has not been doing this year with just seven sacks on the year as a team.
Mack is third on the team in total tackles with 43!
1. Kyle Fuller, Bears cornerback: Leading the league with three interceptions.
2. C.J. Mosley, Ravens linebacker: Baltimore's answer to Pittsburgh's Ryan Shazier, Mosley has served as a plug-and-play inside force from Day 1. He played his best game yet on Sunday against the Panthers, shutting down the run en route to a league-leading 14 defensive stops on the season, per Pro Football Focus. He'll struggle to win this award because he's not a pass-rusher or turnover machine, but Mosley has been a rock-solid pick for Baltimore.