Aug 31, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Buffalo Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack (46) tackles Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 40-20. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Khalil Mack "Problem" for the Cleveland Browns


Most analyst believe that the NFL Draft has 4 stud players and a ton of good ones. Khalil Mack, along with Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson and Sammy Watkins, is one of those stud players, and a “problem” for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns drafted an outside linebacker, Barkevious Mingo, and signed another to a huge contract, Paul Kruger, last year, as well as have Jabaal Sheard at the position as well. Mack has the flexibility to play a number of positions but should/could the Browns add another big investment to the linebacking core? ESPN’s Pat McManamon had a similar question:

Pettine said his nickname once was Blunt Force Trauma. Mack seems to fit that mold. He’s a 6-foot-2, 250-pound linebacker who can rush the passer and drop into coverage, a pretty rare combination of skills in this day of specialization.

Would the Browns take Mack?

Why not?

The fact that the Browns haven’t had a high level quarterback in years, that they could use a #2 receiver and could fill a big hole on the offensive line, makes Mack a “problem” for the decision makers. One, two or three of the top QBs could be available when the Browns pick. Watkins and Mike Evans might both be available. Robinson or Jake Matthews could be there as well for the Browns. With all those options available could the Browns brain trust of Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer really take a player who does also fill a need? Will they hold tight to their board rankings?

Before they do, they have to believe two things. The first is that the top quarterbacks are not good enough to take with the No. 4 overall pick. The second is that they can find a receiver lower in this receiver-deep draft to pair with Josh Gordon as opposed to using the No. 4 pick on Sammy Watkins (who remains the preferred choice in my draft corner, though Mack is a not-very-distant second).

Great statement’s by Pat, we have each other’s cell phone numbers so I think I can call him Pat. If the QBs aren’t top notch and they believe, like many do, that finding a #2 type receiver could be very easy in this years draft, either at 26 or even in the second round, then Mack has to be in play. Robinson and Matthews might be the reason the decision becomes more difficult. Do they think they can get much out of lower level linemen in the Zone Blocking Scheme or see a need for another big time guy to protect and run block? Is Mack the exceptional talent many say he is? Senior Editor Chris Sprow has worked with Mel Kiper Jr. for five years, helping Kiper with reports and information. He went to the Ohio State-Buffalo game and focused specifically on Mack. He points out that the balance with Mack is this: If he’s a great pass-rusher, he’s a top-five pick. But if he doesn’t develop into a great pass-rusher, a team then is using a pick on a very solid outside linebacker. Mack’s coverage skills and his ability to play in space are excellent, but the pass-rush skills are what put him over the top.

It seems like it. His overall skills are what make it clear he could play inside linebacker at a high level while giving the Browns multiple looks to throw at the offenses. He can cover backs and tight ends, rush from the inside, use stunts well and overall cause havoc. Many of these reasons are what led us to draft Mack at #4 in our recently published 7 Round Browns Mock Draft, click that link it will open in a new page.

How do you think the Browns will/should deal with the Mack “problem’? Are you the “We need offense” type? Are you the “Spend the pick where we have a need” type? Or do you believe we haven’t seen enough from Mingo and Kruger to keep from picking Mack?


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Tags: Cleveland Browns Khalil Mack

  • Craig Barker

    I think Mack would be a great pick for us. I do not have a lot of faith in Mingo and Krugers contract could free up a lot of cap room if dumped in a year or two. If Mingo develops and Mack could play inside that would be even better. I think of all the players available, I will not be upset unless they draft a QB with the 4th pick. This is the first time in a long time that there will be this much talent available when we pick and i will be happy with watkins, robinson, mack, or evans.

    • Jarod Cook

      From what I’ve read on Mack he struggles working threw congesting and shedding multiple blockers, so playing him at ILB doesn’t make sense. He works better in space and rushing the outside, so would make a better OLB/DE in the NFL, where it’s mostly one on one battles. And after taking Mingo with a high pick last year and signing Kruger in FA, I don’t see the Browns drafting Mack.
      I agree with you on the QB’s of this draft and they should wait till #26/#35 to see who’s available, cause I believe like last year the QB’s are going to drop in this draft. The more likely picks for the Browns at #4 are OT’s Robinson or Matthews, or taking WR’s Watkins or Evens.

    • Jared Mueller

      In this draft I am with you Craig yet think the QB position is so important I would take 4 or 5 with the hopes of getting 1, in Madden at least. Browns are surprisingly talented at most positions. The 1 position where you only play 1 guy, QB, is unknown with Hoyer right now… Frustrating at some level, exciting at another. Get Mack at 4, Ebron or Amaro at 26 and Allen Robinson type WR at 35 and who cares who the QB is right?

  • paulbip

    Take Mack if there. Mingo and Kruger showed little last year. LB is one of the weakest positions on the team. Right now you have two converted DE’s and a 2nd stringer from Balt. at the OLB position. If Mack were taken, the draft could look like Mack…QB…Hyde or Yankee…CB…#2 WR.

    • Jarod Cook

      You most be joking right? The weakest part of the team last year would be the secondary on defense, and the RB on offense. The LB core has plenty of pass rushers and doesn’t need another project at OLB in the mix. If you where disappointed in MIngo last year, why would you want to take another LB who’s just like him? They’ve got a good defense already and should look to add offensive players early. Because the true talent off this draft is located on the offensive side of the ball. Taking another project at LB early would just put them further behind the eight ball.

  • Bubba Carnahan

    I believe in drafting the best player available. So if Mack is there, take him. Hes going to be a player that you can build around. If the Browns take him, look for them to shop Kruger for more draft picks. Thats the best case scenario in my opinion. Yes we have holes, but with this draft and 5 picks in the first 3 rounds, the holes should be filled and we should have a solid team for the future.

  • Letterman007

    Basically you are saying Mingo is a bust and another waste of a first round pick!! I don’t consider Mack that good as he looked good against tOSU, but rather pedestrian against Baylor!! Remember, this is the same Buckeyes that looked ragged against Indiana, Michigan and a few others that had lousy defenses! So be careful who you use as a measuring post!!
    Try to remember that the offense was the biggest need in this draft, and if they keep putting off getting one with these top picks, they are doing no better than they have done in past drafts!! They keep putting the offense on the back burner and it will continue to be a large problem for this team!! Yes I saw your latest 7 round draft and the two first rounders were defense!! They spent the majoriity of the free agent money on D and really very little on improving on offense! If you think picking up McQuister is much help, you better look at his stats!!
    This is a deep draft alright, but deep in offensive players for the first three rounds and that’s where the Browns need to invest these picks!! They have gone D for two years and the little offense they have picked up was T Rich and Weeden and the one good player Gordon!! Next year will be to late to mine this draft for the offensive needs that this team requires!! In my opinion, the first three picks should go (not necessarily in order) WR, OB,Tackle or guard!! Then maybe look at a corner, then RB!!

    • Jarod Cook

      I agree with you about your point on OSU being a measuring post. There was a lot of second rate talent that looked good against the buckeyes last year. I think it’s to soon to write Mingo off, he looked great his first few games then hit the rookie wall hard. If he spent this off season learning and preparing like he should have, he should show improvement this season.
      I agree they’ve focused to much on defense with the last few drafts, and not enough on the offense. The few offensive players they’ve taking have been bust or are JAG’s who add depth. And agree they need to focus on the offense early in the draft this year. Most of the premier talent of the draft is on the offensive side of the ball this year.

      • Letterman007

        Lets hope they see it our way and spend some of those top 4 or 5 picks on the offense! Most of the talent is offense in the draft, with a few defensive picks sprinkled in!!! It just worries me that Pettine is a defensive coach and may lean that way, but he has to realize that the offense needs the most help!!

  • TopGearRules

    I have seen enough film on Mack to say we can pass on him and pick either Bortles if he’s there or Clowney if he there. If neither of those two are there I would trade down 2-4 spots and draft either Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson. I would then use our 26th pick coupled with or second round pick to move up into the mid teens say 16 where the Cowboys draft and are desperate for bodies and hope that Derek Carr is still there. If he is gone then we sit tight at 26 and take a WR and then in round two I take Jimmy Garrappaolo.

    • Letterman007

      You probably wouldn’t need to use the #35 pick to move up as, if you traded down you would get a possible 3rd rounder in that trade which you could use to move up with #26 pick! Sounds like a plan!

      • TopGearRules

        Hopefully you’re right about what it will take to move up and to where. If we wanted to move up to say 16(Dallas) I think it would require either our second or a third and a forth. Guess we will have to wait and see. Who do you think the Browns covet and what would you do if you were Farmer?

        • Letterman007

          A lot of what we need to trade up from #26 will depend on what way the draft for other teams fall and whose available at #16 and who we have at #4 or #6. Since we could trade down at #4 to #6 , with that being high in the draft, what could we extract from our trade partner.
          As far as Farmer goes, you just don’t know because he has no track record to go by! They could be throwing up smoke and really like someone like Garappolo or the kid from PIT, Savage! They could go after Carr, but I hear that Haslam really likes Manziel, but I guess we’ll wait and see . It should prove to be very interesting and it is , for sure, the biggest draft for the Browns in a long while!!

          • TopGearRules

            This is my draft board in order of ratings and need.
            1. Bortles 2, Watkins, 3, Clowney, 4, Carr, 5, Matthews, 6, Mack.
            What is your order of preference ?

          • Letterman007

            Here’s my pecking order for pick 4. Robinson, Watkins, Mathews, trade down !! There is no QB in this draft worth a top ten pick in my estimation!! They’ll get their QB at either# 26 or#35 !!