Defensive End Khalil Mack
For someone who's already received a multitude of accolades this season, most notably the title of Defensive Player of the Year, it's hard to deny that defensive end Khalil Mack is one of the best at his position in the NFL. The Oakland Raiders edge rusher has wreaked havoc on offensive lines since entering the league in 2014, and was recently named Pro Football Focus' best overall edge rusher from the 2016 season.
While No. 52's stat line of 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, an interception, and one touchdown is eye-opening to begin with, Mack's impact on the game transcends more than just the stat sheet. According to PFF, the soon-to-be 26-year-old pressured opposing quarterbacks a total of 96 times, which was the most in the NFL. When you watch the First-Team All-Pro on film, he showcases a special combination of speed, power, and finesse.
Whether he's bull rushing his opponent or accelerating around the outside, Mack is a handful. The Silver and Black standout is a cornerstone player on defense, and is the only player in league history to be named to an All-Pro at two separate positions (defensive end and linebacker).
Often times, NFL analysts get caught up in the importance of sacks, but fail to take the rest of a player's impact into consideration. When it came to stopping the run, Mack tallied 44 tackles on 356 rushing snaps, and stopped the run 32 times. At 6'3" and 250 pounds, the third-year player has a versatile skill set that allows him to be affective in the run or passing game.
Here's a look at how PFF broke down Mack's edge rushing ability:
"Nobody generated more pressure than Oakland's Khalil Mack this past season," wrote PFF." He led the NFL in total pressures, at 96, and was the only player to even eclipse 90 over the year. Mack didn't have as many sacks as some on the list, but still got home 11 times over the year, knocking the QB down another 11 times, and posting a monstrous 74 hurries across his 16 games.
Mack's postseason performance against the Texans was one of his weakest pass-rushing displays of the year, but he still notched a pair of hurries and was a monster in the run game, with eight defensive stops to his name in just one game.
What often separates the very best pass-rushers is game-defining impact plays, and Mack had more than one of those over the season. In fact, he recorded more than one of those in a single game, proving to be the difference between the Raiders winning or losing back in Week 12 against the Panthers, when he managed to intercept Carolina QB Cam Newton on a quick screen pass, and later record a strip-sack to force a fumble and seal the win."
If you'd like to view the whole article, click here.