Name: Daylon Mack
Position: Defensive Tackle
School: Texas A&M
Mack is one of the top mid-round prospects in this draft thanks to his elite physical features. He combines great quickness and a low-center of gravity, and could be a diamond in the rough as a future starter at the next level.
On the one hand, Mack’s lack of length is a bit concerning. He stands out, so to speak, against NFL-sized offensive linemen, as he stands no more than six-feet tall. Yet, Mack is thick from top to bottom, and does not have much bad weight slowing him down. His low center-of-gravity makes him powerful and difficult to move, even if his short stature may limit his game in a traditional sense. Mack could struggle with separation and bend at the next level, but it will be difficult to move him.
Mack’s get-off is elite, especially for someone of his build. Often times, he is the second player to move off the snap, after only the center. He is a twitchy, explosive athlete all over the field, but it is especially apparent in his initial burst. He is low and quick off the ball, powerful with his initial strike, and has quick legs to either drive his blocker into the backfield or scoot by him before he can get fully out of his stance. Mack’s hand usage is not always on point and he has length issues, as stated above. So he has to win early off the snap, and he is able to do so a lot of the time.
This is likely where Mack will fit in on an NFL roster, at least early on. His frame lends itself to leverage advantages, so he almost always takes on one-on-one blocks without giving ground. His preference is to shoot gaps and make plays quickly in the backfield, but he has also shown the ability to engage, read and discard. Mack’s length may lead to some struggles in separation initially in the NFL, but with his burst off the line, he should be able to make plays purely on his ability to initiate contact.
Much of Mack’s issues with double teams or zone blocking is due to inconsistent technique. He will stand up on occasion, negating his leverage advantage, and he can allow blockers to get inside of him. However, his hand usage improved tremendously this past season. Plus, due to his unusual quickness, he has great recovery ability. With more coaching, he could be a starting nose as a run-stuffer.
As with his run defense, Mack is going to depend heavily on his initial burst to make plays consistently. His lack of length or hand usage means his pass rushing is going to be a work in progress at first. Mack’s frame does not exactly lend it self to separation or bend, and he does not have many pass rush moves beyond bull rush or firing and ripping through. As such, he can be stonewalled if his first plan is stopped.
He will need to work on his hand-fighting, as well as develop counters if he wants to be anything more than an early down player. That said, his athleticism is enticing, so again, he could be an excellent pass rusher if developed properly.
Mack’s physical features are going to be his greatest asset as a draft prospect. He is raw, so late day two, early day three would be his best projections. Minnesota’s defensive tackle depth is a significant concern entering 2019. It will be made worse if they lose Sheldon Richardson and do not replace him in free agency.
For now, the depth is Jaleel Johnson, who has been hit-or-miss in his first two seasons, and Tom Johnson, who turns 35 in August, and the latter is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Mack is a guy who can fill in at nose tackle right away, and with good coaching, could be a starting-caliber piece.
–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.
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