Raiders linebacker Malcolm Smith recently told SiriusXM NFL radio that the team has increased its football IQ. It doesn’t take a genius, however, to know that the Raiders have one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
“I’ve never seen anybody like Khalil Mack, to be honest with you,” Smith said in the same interview. “He’s kind of a one-of-a-kind, as far as my football knowledge goes and my time of being in the NFL. Even in college, I don’t think I played against a player who’s kind of dominant as Khalil is in a one-on-one setting, even a two-on-one setting.”
Smith compared Mack to Derrick Thomas, the Hall of Fame linebacker who was the best pass rusher of his time.
Some regard Mack as the best defensive player in all of football, better than even Von Miller or J.J. Watt. Speaking of Watt, Mack could have been his teammate if the Texans had taken Mack with the first pick in the 2014 draft instead of Jadeveon Clowney.
In that same draft, Raiders owner Mark Davis was pushing his front office to take Derek Carr with the pick that became Mack. The Raiders ended up with both guys, and they are poised to form the nucleus on each side of the ball for a roster that is on its way to becoming one of the best in the division, the conference, and maybe the league.