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Justin Tuck says Raiders LB Khalil Mack has Derrick Thomas potential

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Lofty expectations for the Oakland Raiders 2014 first round pick LB Khalil Mack. Any linebacker that goes in the top five will have much expected of him but Justin Tuck, Mack's teammate, thinks he can fulfill those expectations.

"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 at the Super Bowl, according to ESPN.

"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. 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."

Because of how good DT and LT were, the odds are against Mack ever becoming that type of player but the potential is obviously there. Go look at the career stats for DT and LT. They were both really good for a really long time. Plenty of players have come in with a few good seasons only to fall off a cliff. Those players aren't Hall of Famers (despite what Terrell Davis fans say). The key is not only being very, very good but doing it for a very, very long time.