Oakland Raiders: Breakout Candidate – Khalil Mack

How dare I say Khalil Mack will be the breakout player to watch for the Oakland Raiders In 2017? It’s  easy to pick one of the rookies or defensive linemen but the Raiders need Mack to be better than he has been.

The offense is the backbone of the Raiders attack. However, as we saw last year, the offense can only take you but so far.

Mack is the leader, the heart, and soul of this defensive unit. He is in the middle of the action constantly but his game is more pass rush when he needs to focus on all aspects of the field. As an MLB, he has the opportunity to destroy. 54 tackles in 2016 should not be the norm for a player with his talent. Mack should be in the 100-tackle range easily considering the offensive approach in the AFC West.

All three division opponents are run first offenses. This should give Mack the freedom to attack any hole where he sees the running back. Moreover, he has the speed and smarts to play the underneath routes on passing plays to cover tight ends and running backs.

Khalil Mack is also a pass rushing fiend. His 11 sacks in 2016 are actually low for him. He is looking to return to the form he had in 2015. That season he sacked opposing QBs 15 times. Mack also had 77 tackles that season.

If the Raiders are to be successful this year–it starts with the defense and that means Mack.

For a defense who gave up 118 yards on the ground and another 258 through the air, they definitely need a change in approach and attitude. Mack is a great player but expect him to be the Raiders Breakout player to watch in 2017.

This will be his Lawrence Taylor season.

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