Khalil Mack: Monster 2016 Season for the Third-Year Linebacker?

July 8, 2016 • Ben Heck • AFC, AFC West, Features, Front Page, Oakland Raiders

We’re far from the only ones to jump on the Khalil Mack bandwagon.

In fact, it was pretty full by the time he was finished his rookie campaign in 2014.

But now that the Oakland Raiders linebacker is entering his third NFL season, I think 2016 will mark the year that the All-Pro solidifies himself as an elite NFL linebacker.

As a sophomore last season, Mack, now 25, once again started all 16 games as the heart and soul of Oakland’s defensive unit. He set career-highs with 77 combined tackles, 15.0 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Jack Del Rio’s squad went 7-9 out of the AFC West, but his defense jumped from dead-last in points allowed in 2014, to 22nd in ’15.

Improvements were made, and a major part of that was due to Mack’s emergence as a top pass-rushing attack and tackling machine at the outside linebacker position.

As they always say: third time’s the charm.

Mack will once again improve upon his personal statistics in ’16, and perhaps he’ll even become a member of the 20.0 sack club. Oakland will improve by a couple more games, especially with a weaker Denver Broncos’ offense in the West. And, hey, maybe Oakland can even compete for the West title by season’s end.

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Photo: Steve Dykes/Getty Images

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