As the Nation Turns – Khalil Mack Missed Practice

A lot of hubbub is surrounding the Oakland Raiders right now, much of it centered around one of the team’s few superstars, Khalil Mack. Mack is on the last year of his rookie contract so the task at hand is coming up with a contract that will make Mack happy while keeping him in the Silver and Black for life.

The first day of voluntary camp was April 9 and Mack was a no-show. Let’s repeat the important part of that sentence: VOLUNTARY. Star players ditch the first few workouts on a regular basis. Every year there is some outrage about a big name that didn’t show up to OTAs. These are get-to-know-you days so Mack not showing up shouldn’t worry anyone. Everyone knows the One Man Wrecking Crew. Besides, he has his own training team. He’s not going to miss any steps.

The uproar, however, was that the Raiders haven’t paid Mack yet, so his failure to show up at camp was an attempt to push the negotiations along. There were actually people who suggested trading him for some draft picks. To address those Twitter bugs, let me just say that they are doing wonderful things for mental illness these days. To suggest trading your best player because he missed one voluntary practice is asinine.

Here’s the man you want to dump like hot garbage. (Courtesy: Pro Football Reference)

Games Def Interceptions Fumbles Sacks & Tackles
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Sk Tkl Ast Sfty AV
2014 23 OAK LB 52 16 16 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 4.0 59 16 7
2015*+ 24 OAK DE/lb 52 16 16 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 15.0 57 20 14
2016*+ 25 OAK DE 52 16 16 1 6 1 6 3 5 0 3 1 0 11.0 54 19 16
2017* 26 OAK DE 52 16 16 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 0 0 10.5 61 17 11
Career 64 64 1 6 1 6 11 9 0 4 1 0 40.5 231 72 4

When compared to the rest of the league, the sacks seem like they could be better, right? No. Incorrect. In combination with the rest of Mack’s skills, he is one of the best all-around defensive players in today’s league. Not convinced? Pro Football Focus, which quantifies players’ stats and slaps numbers on them, as well as ranking them in all things related to their position, gave Mack two of the most productive seasons of any edge defender since 2006 when they began recording.

So tell us, doubters, why would anyone drop this caliber of player because he missed a voluntary practice? Luckily, the Raiders brass are more experienced than to make a knee-jerk decision to dump their best player. Here’s hoping that cooler heads prevail and the Nation can sit back and enjoy the ride through the reconstruction of a dynasty.

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