Why the Houston Texans Should Select Khalil Mack #1 in the Draft

Recently I posted a new mock draft on this very website and placed Buffalo LB Khalil Mack as the #1 selection for the 2-14 Houston Texans. I’ve taken a lot of criticism because people are just set in their ways that a LB shouldn’t ever be a #1 pick by any means.

The last time a LB was selected number one was (1988) 26 years ago when the Atlanta Falcons selected Auburn’s Aundray Bruce. Obviously that was one of the weakest NFL Draft’s in history, but this is different with Buffalo’s Khalil Mack.

The reason I decided to place Mack at #1 to Houston was because Antonio Smith and JJ Watt are the starting DE’s on the roster and I see no reason to change that anytime soon. Smith is productive and Watt is one of the NFL’s elite players.

As for the LB position the Texans only have Brooks Reed and Brian Cushing as sure starters if both stay healthy particularly with Brian Cushing who has been on the IR the past two seasons. Mack is the kind versatile LB like Von Miller has become for the Denver Broncos who can create turnovers by way of force fumbles and he’s more than able to aid Watt, Smith and Reed in the pass rush that looked lost in games last season.

Mack measured at 6’2” 251lbs at the NFL Combine, but he put his name on notice after a dominating performance against the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes in early September. Out of high school the stud LB had one scholarship offer coming out of high school and that was from Turner Gill and the University of Buffalo.

In his 4 year career, Mack accumulated 28.5 sacks, 4INTs (3INTs in 2013), and a ridiculous 16 FF (forced fumbles) and was awarded the 2013 Jack Lambert Award as the best LB in the country, he beat out UCLA’s Anthony Barr for the award. He also played in 48 games over the course of his collegiate career that’s an average 12 games a year.

Mack has all the credentials to be the #1 pick in the draft, and after his beast combine a few weeks ago he’s a definite top 5 pick now. In October, the highest I had him in a mock draft was at #9, ironically to Buffalo.

For Houston, LB and QB are there biggest needs and Mack is the better option, even more so than UCF QB Blake Bortles, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, or Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. I don’t believe a QB should be selected in the top 4 this year with the talent at the top of the board.

Houston would be better to try and trade back up and select a QB in the middle of round 1, especially if Manziel slips past Minnesota at #8. HC Bill O’Brien and the Texans front office have a hard task at hand but Mack could be the star that they need alongside Watt, Joseph (if he’s not cut by June 1st), and Cushing (coming off IR) and in the NFL having a pass rush can relieve the amount of stress on the secondary.

Here’s Mel Kiper’s NFL Mock Draft Top 10 picks shown today on ESPN.

Final Verdict:

Obviously they could still target a veteran QB or an unproven QB to replace Matt Schaub and Case Keenum. But whether it may be Michael Vick, Ryan Mallett, Kirk Cousins or another backup doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Blake Bortles isn’t number 1 pick material and Bridgewater may not be the kind of player O’Brien wants, with that said a trade maybe the best route?

Regardless the Texans offense still has Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and Duane Brown at LT. Those guys are elite talents at the positions they play in. This is similar to Kansas City at this time last year. Kansas City had the option to trade for Alex Smith. Unfortunately there isn’t an Alex Smith out there on the market unless Sam Bradford were to have gotten cut by St. Louis which didn’t happen.

Obviously Mel Kiper has been wrong before about these big name players being “stars” on many occasions. But with Mack it’s not just Kiper, it’s Mike Mayock, it’s all the college scouts that watched him play in the MAC conference for four years, and all those who had the pleasure to watch him tear it up at the combine.

Photo Courtesy of Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports and the Mock Draft courtesy of ESPN

Follow me @DaDonsVerdict and @FullScaleSport

Enjoy the video below of his performance vs. the Buckeyes

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