NEW YORK CITY- It is easy to ignore the small schools and “schools that are not power houses”. However, recent history has taught NFL fans to stop laughing at the small schools, particularly the Mid-American Conference. While the Mid-American Conference is not as highly regarded as Big Ten, Southeastern Conference, Pac 12 (formerly Pac Ten) and ACC, the MAC has produced studs such as Ben Roethlisberger, who won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Eric Fisher, the offensive tackle out Central Michigan, was the biggest surprise as he was selected first overall last year by the Kansas City Chiefs.
This year, Khalil Mack is the top dog out of the MAC. The 6 foot 3 inch juggernaut out of Buffalo set several school records for sacks (28.5), tackles for loss (75) and forced fumbles (16). Some NFL fans may dismiss such rare feats just because Mack was not in a power house program. Does it really matter that Mack was not in a power house program? It does not matter at all, these numbers are impressive regardless of the fact Mack played for Buffalo rather than the Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers or Florida State Seminoles.
Another impressive defensive player is Jimmie Ward, Strong Safety out of Northern Illinois. He is shorter than most scouts would like since he is 5 feet, 11 inches tall. Ward is known for his ability to intercept passes, leading the nation with seven interceptions. He also defended 10 passes (pass break ups).
NFL fans should be impressed with these two high caliber defensive players and should grade their favorite team with an “A” for such a pick.