The next Broncos defense? Khalil Mack says the Raiders can be that good

Mack is certainly correct that the basis of that Broncos defense was making the quarterback uncomfortable. Behind the relentless pressure of Von Miller andDeMarcus Ware, Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe, Shaq Barrett and Shane Ray,Sylvester Williams and Antonio Smith, the Broncos racked up a league-leading 52 sacks. Their 8.1 percent adjusted sack rate (per Football Outsiders, sacks plus intentional grounding divided by dropbacks, adjusted for down and distance) led the league, as did their 42.8 percent pressure rate (sacks plus hits plus hurries divided by dropbacks, per an analysis of Pro Football Focus’ tracking data).

The Mack-led Raiders did not fare quite as well in those categories. They finished the season with 38 sacks, just slightly more than the league average of 37.1. Their adjusted sack rate was actually slightly below average at 5.9 percent, while their pressure rate of 34.0 percent ranked 21st in the NFL.

Russell Wilson, a 5-foot-11 former third-round pick who developed into a top-caliber, Super Bowl-winning NFL quarterback, recently returned to his alma mater to address the recent graduates of Wisconsin. During his commencement speech, Wilson not only gave away some valuable advice, but he also addressed how the end to his career at North Carolina State, a school he attended prior to his Wisconsin days, came to a close.

Let’s start with that advice, which is guaranteed to bring up some bad memories for the 12s.

“I am retiring from the NFL because the Fiji Rugby Sevens team reached out to me about the opportunity to join the team for the upcoming Olympics, and I simply could not pass that chance up. The Olympics has been something I have admired since I was a little boy, and it is an opportunity I feel very similar to me joining the NFL.

“It’s very pleasing to work with a guy that’s demanding and a leader like he is,” Hopkins said of Osweiler. “Demanding of your best, for you to be perfect, almost.”

But Osweiler’s role on the Broncos was minimal. His 86.4 passer rating last season — when he filled in for Peyton Manning — was actually lower than Hoyer’s 91.4 rating. There’s no guarantee that Osweiler even comes close to living up to his mega-contract, which the Texans handed to him after meeting with him for 10 seconds.

Then again, as long as the Texans can find a quarterback who can successfully hoist up jump balls down the sideline and avoid back-breaking interceptions, they should be better off than last year.

Gronk also ranks third among this group in receptions per game (4.8, trailing only Kellen Winslow and his son, Kellen Winslow Jr.), first in yards per reception (14.6) and second in yards per game (69.4, behind only Winslow’s 70.5).

Given his incredible production, it’s also worth asking what kind of pace he’d need to maintain in order to break the all-time records in catches (1,325), receiving yards (15,127), and receiving touchdowns (111) set by Tony Gonzalez. We’ve worked that out for you as well.

The chart below shows how many of each Gronk would need to average if he were to play 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11 more seasons. (We used 11 seasons as the final endpoint because that would bring Gronk through his age-37 season, which is when Gonzalez retired.)

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