Jack Del Rio: Raiders will build a dominant defense


Khalil Mack's five-sack performance in Week 14 has coach Jack Del Rio thinking big about the future of the Oakland defense.

"As we go forward, we're going to build a dominant defense here," Del Rio stated matter-of-factly Wednesday, via ESPN.com. "We've taken some steps and showed some signs, but that's something that will happen. It's just a matter of when."

NFL success is built upon drawing and defeating double teams. Del Rio has that force now in Mack, who has generated nine sacks over the past three games.

Every game, all season

Beyond his Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Del Rio can point to rookie edge rusher Mario Edwards Jr. and veteran run-plugger Dan Williams as building blocks.

Edwards has emerged as a force since midseason, generating 21 quarterback hurries compared to Mack's 19 over the past six weeks, per Pro Football Focus.

Williams has spearheaded an improving run defense that has limited running backs to 3.0 yards per carry over the past month.

While the Raiders are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture, the future is bright.

With an impressive offensive nucleus of Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Latavius Murray, a solid offensive line and a pair of talented young tight ends, Del Rio and general manager Reggie McKenzie can devote their resources toward the other side of the ball in 2016.

Don't be surprised if the Raiders use their first few draft picks on defense, surrounding Mack with talent just as they did with Carr on offense.