Oct 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack (46) against the Massachusetts Minutemen at University of Buffalo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Draft Targets: Is Khalil Mack the Next Clay Matthews?


The whole “let’s compare draft prospects to established NFL stars” game is always a little bit of a perilous exercise, and arguably a completely useless one. But it also happens to be a lot of fun so let’s play it anyway.

Today’s edition of the unfair, possibly superficial and meaningless comparison game features Khalil Mack, the athletic and explosive MAC defensive player of the year who is currently getting tons of buzz as a potential Vikings draft pick.

Which established NFL superstar does Mack compare to according to draft expert Daniel Jeremiah?

How about the Claymaker himself?

Yes, Jeremiah went there with Mack, comparing the linebacker to Clay Matthews of the hated Green Bay Packers. Jeremiah said:

Mack is one of my favorite players in this draft class. He has a relentless motor, explosive get-off and violent hands, three of the same qualities I noticed in Clay Matthews when I scouted him at USC. Matthews is more fluid and has an easier time bending the edge, but he and Mack are both ideal fits as 3-4 outside linebackers. Their physical measurables are almost identical. Matthews produced 10 sacks in his rookie campaign, and Mack is plenty capable of matching that number in his inaugural season.

The Clay Matthews comparison opens up that whole 4-3 vs. 3-4 can of worms. Lots of folks would love to see the Vikings adopt the 3-4, but I think it’s sort of a silly discussion, especially with Mike Zimmer, a guy who has shown great scheme flexibility over his career, as head coach/defensive guru.

My suspicion is that Zimmer looks at these guys only in terms of talent and positional need, and would be willing to adapt his scheme as needed.

In other words, I wouldn’t get too caught up in the scheme thing with Mack and would just look at the ability, which is pretty exceptional.

Is he destined to be another Clay Matthews? A lot of things would have to go right. But the potential is there for Mack to be that kind of player, and that’s why you have to give him a look at #8.

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Tags: Khalil Mack Minnesota Vikings

  • 3kolu

    I believe Mack is a can’t-miss prospect. I believe he will be less injury-prone than Clay Matthews and should be able to rack up double-digit sacks every year. The sky is his limit. The Vikings need to jump on him if he’s available at #8.

  • kyle

    I’m not so sure that they’re even going to be picking at 8. I would bet they’re going to trade fown between 10-15, get a couple extra picks since Spielman wants 10 picks and take Derek Carr. Most of our holes on defense can be addressed via free agency and depth added in the draft. Carr seems like he would be a solid match to Norv’s offense and upgrading the most important position in football trumps the defense any day of the week.

  • David Mallow

    If Mack is there at 8 grab him, if not thentrade down 5 or 6 spots, grab 2 or 3 extra picks and take Darqueze Dennard ,if hes still there, at 13 or 14. The QBs in this class are overrated and not what they want in the first round. I think Murray, McCarron, or Jensen will the b e tter QBs from this class and they will be there in the late 3rd or even 4th round.

  • Invictus Corruptus

    Hard to gamble once again on a QB in the first round. If Mack is there at 8 you take him. The Vikings also need to be aggressive in free agency. It would be great to see them sign a top free agent at CB, LB, DT and RG.

    The rumor of the Vikings trading for Ryan Mallet is interesting. If they can pull that off and only lose a mid round draft pick this gives them the opportunity to focus on their glaring needs on defense. If the Vikings fail to trade for Mallet I hope they can get McCarron, Murray, Fales or Carr in the second or third round. Our first round pick needs to be a top defensive player.

    I’m confident that Zimmer can put together a great defense and Norv as OC can only improve our offense. In my opinion the Vikings are on a two year rebuilding plan before they move into their new stadium. Zimmer will have his defense and type of players implemented on the team by 2016 via the draft and free agency.

    One thing to think about is that by 2016 AP will be 31 years old so perhaps the Vikings should start preparing for life without AP in the future.