|Mike Groll/Associated Press|
|Khalil Mack has decided not to attend the Senior Bowl.|
Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack, considered a top-10 pick by NFL Media draft analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah, will not attend the Reese's Senior Bowl, his father told the Buffalo News on Wednesday.
Mack is the second big name to decline a Senior Bowl invitation, joining Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. But unlike McCarron, Mack is considered a sure-fire first-rounder; McCarron is seen as a second- or third-day pick.
Jeremiah said not going to the Senior Bowl "won't affect" Mack's stock. "He's viewed as a top-15 pick," Jeremiah said of Mack. "McCarron doesn't carry those same grades. He could've really helped himself."
Brooks has a different viewpoint, calling the decision to bypass the Senior Bowl "significant."
"Scouts view him as a small-school standout, but they would love to see him play against elite completion. Now, I know he had a big game against Ohio State, but his resume is slightly inflated due to the level of competition he faced in the MAC," Brooks said. "While others have played against NFL-caliber players in the SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and other conferences, he has benefited from being the big fish in a small pond. I would like to see him work alongside some of the other top linebackers in the game to see if the hype matches the talent and potential.
"Without a week to see him play against top guys, I would be reluctant to view him as a top-10 talent. Remember, the track record for small-school players drafted high isn't stellar (see Larry English, Northern Illinois), so Mack needed to seal the deal by performing well in a game against elite talent. In the end, it likely won't impact his stock, but competitors compete and some coaches/scouts will have a tough time with Mack avoiding the competition."
Mack (6-foot-3, 248 pounds) set an NCAA career record with 16 forced fumbles and is tied for first in NCAA history with 75 tackles for loss with former Western Michigan defensive end Jason Babin, who started for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Mack also had 28.5 career sacks.
On "The Dan Patrick Show" earlier this month, Jeremiah called Mack the most sure thing in the draft. "He is a big-time guy. He can rush the passer, he can cover, he can do everything," Jeremiah said.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.