Coming off another horrid season, the Jacksonville Jaguars knew they needed to make significant upgrades to their roster heading into the 2014 offseason. Rather than having one particular hole to fill, they simply had to get better across the board.
During the Rant Sports 2014 NFL Mock Draft, they took the best player available and won’t regret it.
With the No. 3 pick, the Jaguars snagged Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who some believe could be the best player to come out of the 2014 NFL Draft class. While he doesn’t necessarily fill a need, he’s the type of playmaker who can be a building block for the Jacksonville defense.
Now in Jacksonville, Mack will likely take over for Geno Hayes as the Jaguars’ strong-side linebacker. Hayes was a disappointment a year ago, struggling mightily against the run and offering little as a pass-rushing threat. With Mack now in the mix, neither of those things should be issues.
Mack is an elite playmaker with the technique, natural talent and instincts to be one of the best players in the NFL. He displays great awareness both against the run and the pass, filling running lanes with ease and putting consistent pressure on passers. Mack also has experience with dropping into coverage, but will need some work in that department.
Above all, he excels at creating turnovers and being in the right place at the right time. The Jaguars have always been an unlucky team, but Mack could have a four-leaf-clover-esque effect on the defense.
Especially under the tutelage of the defensive-minded Gus Bradley, Mack is in an ideal position to reach his sky-high ceiling. He’s not going to suddenly make the Jaguars contenders, but it’s a step in the right direction.