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Woodson: Khalil Mack reminds me of Derrick Thomas


Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack was reportedly thrilled that he got to speak "at the podium" following Sunday's upset win over the Broncos. The podium is usually a controlled, televised media opportunity reserved for the team's biggest stars and after an insane five-sack performance which included a sack fumble for a safety, Mack earned it.

But he also earned some very effusive praise from a teammate whose experience spans decades and contains a healthy amount of perspective.

"That was awesome," Charles Woodson said, via The Mercury News. "The way he can get around the corner and get low to the ground, reminds you of Derrick Thomas. We played against Derrick Thomas my first game in the NFL, against the Chiefs, and he had six sacks against us. Today, Khalil kind of reminded me of that."

Mack was our No. 1 player on this offseason's Making The Leap list and for good reason. He was already an excellent player, but this was the year that he elevated himself into the world of untouchables.

Sunday's game saw Mack rise to the NFL's sack leader, edging Detroit's Ezekiel Ansah by half a sack. But it's more impressive to see him doing it without the help of Aldon Smith or Justin Tuck on the other side (not to say that the Raiders are without other playmakers). Mack has nine sacks in his last three games, and he's already taking down franchise icons like Howie Long in the record books week after week. He is the player other teams go into games to try and stop, and he's making people wonder if J.J. Watt could be sharing Defensive Player of the Year honors anytime soon.