Khalil Mack, Linebacker – Buffalo
NFL Network Draft Guru Mike Mayock said Mack should be the top player picked in this draft. And many other experts have him ranked in the top three. Mack is a monster who can do everything: pass rush, tackling machine, high motor, can cover, makes plays in the open field, has great pursuit speed, breaks tackles, and can get leverage. He’s the Swiss Army Knife of linebackers.
The Cowboys struggled with injuries and inconsistency in their linebacker corps last season. Although middle linebacker Sean Lee had a breakout year in 2013, injuries once again limited him as the season wore on. Free agent signee Justin Durant failed to duplicate the success he had in Detroit in 2012 when he recorded a career-high 103 combined tackles. Last season, Durant recorded just 24 combined tackles in 10 injury-plagued games for Dallas.
The other starting linebacker, Bruce Carter, had the best statical season of his three-year career. But he was also benched for two games due to his lack of coverage skills. It is unclear whether Dallas will re-sign Carter as he is in the final year of his rookie contract. Young linebacker DeVonte Holloman, the Cowboys sixth-round pick in 2013, is waiting in the wings. But with both Durant and Carter presumably on the way out after this season, Mack could make sense for Dallas.