Khalil Mack: Raiders' D can be as good as Broncos'

Perhaps outside of Jacksonville, no team did more to sweepingly overhaul a weak defense this offseason than the Oakland Raiders. General manager Reggie McKenzie added Bruce Irvin to his front seven along with Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson and first-round rookie Karl Joseph to the defensive backfield.

Khalil Mack boasts skills to be the next great edge rusher in the NFL, Mario Edwards -- who expects to return following a neck injury that ended his first season -- has upside entering Year 2 after a solid rookie campaign and second-round rookie Jihad Ward should boost the pass rush.

After watching the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl with a backend that locks down receivers and a front end that terrorizes quarterbacks, Mack believes the Raiders can get to that level.

"Most definitely," told Yahoo! Sports when asked if he thinks Oakland's D can be that good. "If you look at that Broncos defense, they're one of the best defenses in NFL history last year. They did a lot to make the quarterback uncomfortable. We can do those types of things and still put our own little twist on it. We can be that good.

"You want it to happen right away, but we have to know that coming together takes time. We have the talent now, and we can disrupt the way they do and be that dominant if we max out and put it all together."

The Raiders certainly upgraded their defense, but until Oakland finds Mack the DeMarcus Ware to his Von Miller, the pass rush won't be nearly as dominant as Denver. If Aldon Smith returns to form after his most recent yearlong suspension, perhaps Oakland will have a pair to rival Denver. At this stage, that's a big if.

The Raiders provided an offseason worthy of praise, but don't belong in the same conversation with the Super Bowl champions until they prove it on the field in December and January.

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