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Raiders' Khalil Mack settling draft-day arguments with his hardware

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- In some parallel universe, the Buffalo Bills stayed local in the 2014 NFL draft and selected Khalil Mack out of the University of Buffalo with the No. 4 overall pick, leaving the Oakland Raiders with the logical choice of Sammy Watkins at No. 5.

And in said same universe, with the receiver position addressed a year earlier, the Raiders then went defensive line in the 2015 draft, selecting Leonard Williams rather than Amari Cooper.

So which universe would you, or the Raiders, for that matter, rather live in -- the one that has Watkins and Williams in Silver and Black, or the current one with Mack and Cooper? It’s not even a question worth pondering now, is it?

Not with the awards continuing to roll in for Mack at a relatively historic pace.

After becoming the first player in NFL history to be named All-Pro at two positions, outside linebacker and defensive end, Mack was feted with essentially the same honor on Monday by the Pro Football Writers Association in being named All-NFL at the two positions in the same year.

Nearly quadrupling his sack total from his rookie year raised eyebrows while going from four sacks to 15 -- the second most in the NFL, behind Houston defensive end J.J. Watt’s 17.5 sacks.

Interestingly enough, 10 of Mack’s sacks came after linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended by the league following Week 10, with five coming in one game -- the Raiders’ 15-12 upset of the Denver Broncos in Colorado on Dec. 13.

Mack, already seen as a premier run-stopper, did not have a sack over Oakland's final two games and fell one shy of the Raiders' franchise record of 16, set by Derrick Burgess in 2005.

Still, it was his all-around game that impressed the voting members of the Associated Press and PFWA, many of whom are the same media members.

Mack, who was presumably double-teamed more with Smith suspended, finished with 79 tackles (58 solo), two forced fumbles and four passes defensed.

His tour de force in Denver -- sacking Brock Osweiler five times, all in the second half, including a forced fumble in the end zone that was recovered by the Broncos for a safety -- did tie a franchise record for most sacks in a game, equaling the five times Hall of Famer Howie Long took down Washington’s Joe Theismann on Oct. 2, 1983.

And it marked the first time a player had five sacks in a game that his team won by three points or fewer since sacks became an official stat in 1982.

Watkins and Williams? Or Mack and Cooper?

Mack settles any argument by himself.