With each game that goes by, Raiders rookie linebacker Khalil Mack's star continues to rise. Five games into the season, Mack is rated by Pro Football Focus as the top run stopping linebacker in the NFL. They give him a +10.2 run defense grade which is the best grade for all linebackers, including 3-4 OLB, 4-3 OLB, and ILB.
Not only is it the best of all linebackers, it's the second best run stop grade of any defender. The only defensive player with a better run stop grade is New York Giants defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul with a +10.6 grade.
What is eluding Mack thus far is a solid pass rush. He has no sacks yet on the season and his 7 quarterback hurries would put him 26th among 3-4 outside linebacker. It would, however, put him second behind only Von Miller, among 4-3 linebacker.
That is a very distant second because Miller has 16 quarterback hurries along with 7 sacks through five games.
Miller was the guy Dennis Allen most closely compared Mack when the Raiders chose him with their fifth overall pick last May. But even with Mack being a stout defender, he has a long way to go before he is the pass rusher Miller is. Though right now, he has Miller beat as a run defender. He has a higher run stop rating than Miller (+9.1) and has 14 stops in five games while Miller has 13.
Mack's pass rushing grade is +2.2 and an overall grade of +13.7. That's the fifth best overall grade for any linebacker position in the league. Those ahead of him are Von Miller (+17.5), Terrell Suggs (+16.6), Justin Houston (+15.1), and Pernell McPhee (+13.8).
That's pretty good company. It's a good start for the rookie top pick.