Defensive End Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack's trophy case is filling up quickly, and now the versatile edge rusher has another accolade to add to his ever-expanding résumé.
After a breakout sophomore campaign that saw him earn a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl and also become the first player in league history to be named First-Team All-Pro at two positions in the same year, Wednesday evening Mack also made an appearance on the NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2016," checking in at No.13.
"Khalil Mack is the definition of a beast," said wide receiver Michael Crabtree. "A lot of people say beast, but Khalil Mack is a beast. I haven't seen nobody that can block him one-on-one, like nobody."
Not only did Mack's ranking skyrocket 36 spots from last year, but also at No. 13 he is the highest-rated Oakland Raider to ever crack the Top 100.
So what made Mack so effective in just his second season in Silver and Black? If you ask fullback Marcel Reece, it was a bevy of things.
"The way he gets off the ball, his hands, his instincts," Reece explained. "His strength, his pad level, absolutely unblockable. He's just a beast. In every sense of the word."
While No. 52 put together a quality rookie season, his true coming out party came Week 14 in a road matchup against the Denver Broncos. Not only did he help the Raiders deliver their signature win of the season – a 15-12 win over the eventual Super Bowl Champions – he exploded for five sacks and seemed to permanently take up residence in the Broncos' backfield.
"Mack is still as good as anybody in this league after this game," Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler said following the game. "He played a tremendous football game. He's a great football player. We knew that he was a great football player. Sometimes – it's hard to do, but sometimes you have to give credit to the opposing team when credit is due. Mack played a phenomenal football game."
From the opposing sideline, Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller looked over helplessly as Mack took the Denver offensive line to school, and the performance is something that the Super Bowl MVP wont' soon forget.
"Khalil just one-man wrecked our whole team," Miller said. "He ran straight through the offensive tackle. It was just incredible. Khalil is just special."
Mack indeed showed that he's a unique talent in 2015, and as the Silver and Black prepare their march into 2016, the success of the defense will rest largely on his shoulders and his ability to be disruptive.
Mack is the third member of the Silver and Black to crack the 2016 Top 100, joining quarterback Derek Carr (No. 100) and safety Reggie Nelson (No. 60).