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Todd McShay's NFL Mock Draft: Buccaneers grab Khalil Mack

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will draft a pass rusher to play strongside linebacker, thinks Todd McShay. Nope.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Todd McShay is a boring man, which is why he has the Buccaneers selecting Khalil Mack in his latest mock draft. Somehow, though, he thinks Mack would play Sam linebacker.

Analysis: I think that this choice would come down to Mack versus offensive tackle Jake Matthews. While in some respects Mack wouldn't fill a huge need area, as the "Sam" linebacker in Lovie Smith's defense isn't as important as some other positions, what drives up his value is his versatility. He could cover tight ends when they needed him to and he could also be an impact pass-rusher (something the Bucs lacked last season) when they turned him loose off the edge. Mack is one of the four elite players in this class, and teams need guys like him who can create turnovers.

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft Khalil Mack, they are almost certain to convert him to defensive end. He would not play Sam linebacker. Maybe that wouldn't be the smart thing to do, but it's what the Bucs will do. See Shea McClellin, the rush linebacker the Chicago Bears drafted in Lovie Smith's final season: he played defensive end.

Similarly, when Khalil Mack went through the drills at his pro day, it was the Bucs' defensive line coach who led the drill. Not the Bucs' linebackers coach. That should tell you all you need to know about the team's intentions if they were to draft Mack.

And that's a pretty big 'if', anyway. I like Mack as a player, especially in a more versatile role similar to Von Miller's. He's one of the best pass-rushers in this draft. But the more I watch him, the more I wonder whether he'd be a bigger impact pass rusher than Adrian Clayborn.