Defensive End Khalil Mack
Eleven sacks, 73 tackles, five forced fumbles, a pick-six, 96 quarterback pressures – a league-best – and a Defensive Player of the Year award; I'm hoping by now you've realized I'm talking about none other than Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack. The numbers posted by the third-year edge rusher in 2016 were impressive, hence why he earned the DPOY nod.
With the season officially over, Pro Football Focus released their list of the top 101 players from the 2016 season, and slated Mack as their fourth-best player. No. 52 comes in behind two of the best quarterbacks in the league Tom Brady (No. 1) and Aaron Rodgers (No. 3), as well as fellow defensive lineman Aaron Donald (No. 2).
In 2015, the University of Buffalo-product finished as PFF's sixth-best player, but his current grade of 93.9 helped him crack the top five and established himself as an elite player in the NFL.
"Generating pressure is often not enough for some when it comes to judging pass-rushers — they need to see game-changing, impact plays, wrote PFF. "That's the step forward Khalil Mack took in 2016. He won the game against Carolina for Oakland with an interception of QB Cam Newton on a simple quick screen, and then later by forcing a fumble on a strip sack to seal the result. No player generated more pressure on quarterbacks than Mack did this season, but he also made the signature plays that Von Miller has made a habit of in the past; those moments had been relatively lacking from Mack's tape in previous seasons. Khalil Mack was the game's most complete edge defender this season, and a true impact player for the Oakland defense."
Coming in at No. 50 on their list was quarterback Derek Carr; if you'd like to view the rest of the article you can do so, here.