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Raiders' Tuck: Khalil Mack can be an L.T.-type of player

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Khalil Mack did not win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, but teammate Justin Tuck believes the upside for the Oakland Raiders' linebacker is Hall of Fame-level.

"I've watched a lot of film on guys like Derrick Thomas, Lawrence Taylor ... I'm not saying that he will be that player, I'm saying he's capable of being that player," Tuck said last week, per ESPN.com. "Believe me, I know what praise I just gave him. I know what category I just potentially put him into.

"The thing I love about him that people don't get to see every day is not the fact that he's an absolute physical specimen," Tuck continued. "It's not that. It's that he's smart, he understands the game, but he also understands that he doesn't know it all."

Mack's play during his rookie campaign jumped off the screen. While he garnered just four sacks, the linebacker was a stud against the run and consistently disrupted plays in the backfield.

When you find yourself missing football this offseason, go to NFL Game Rewind and pop on a couple of Raiders games. It's impossible for your eyes to not go to Mack, especially later in the season.

For Tuck, the rookie's work ethic and desire to learn are what will get him to the next level.

"He comes into meeting rooms, he'll call me on Friday night before we come in on Saturday to finish everything going into our game and say, 'I've got a question about this,' " Tuck said. "From my experiences, guys like that are going to be very successful. I don't know what success that includes him to be. I don't know if that's a Hall of Fame guy. I don't know if that's multiple Pro Bowls, I don't know if that's just he's a quality football player.

"But I know for a fact he's going to be successful, because barring injury, I have no problem of saying he has the capability to be one of the best defensive players in this league for a long time."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps Super Bowl XLIX, including Malcolm Butler's game-sealing interception, Tom Brady's legacy and more. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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