In his fourth year in the NFL, the Raiders’ Khalil Mack didn’t win a second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award.
In 2017, Mack’s sack total was down from the previous season (11 to 10.5), as were his fumble recoveries (three to one). He also didn’t have the splash interception for a touchdown he had in 2016.
Yet Mack, the Raiders’ dynamic defensive end, who’s still just 26, was formidable. New defensive coordinator Paul Guenther recently called him “the centerpiece of the defense” and the foundation for whatever he and the Raiders can build in 2018.
“He’s an exciting guy to be able to coach, for sure,” Guenther told the Bay Area News Group.
The analytic website Pro Football Focus on Thursday also rated Mack as the 31st best player in the NFL in 2017, based solely on what he did this past season. So, even in a year that wasn’t up to his 2016 production – playing on a team that slumped from 12-4 to 6-10 – Mack remains among the most elite defensive players in pro football.
Wrote PFF: “Mack’s overall grade of 92.1 was still incredible, and even if it falls short of the standards he set over the past two years, it was still one of the most dominant seasons in the league. Mack had 78 total pressures over the season and led all edge defenders in defensive stops with 53, six more than any other player at that position.”
PFF noted, too, that Mack ranked sixth among edge defenders in run-stop percentage.
He ranked No. 1 among edge defenders in combined pressures and run stops, with 131, ahead of the Broncos’ Von Miller (127) and the Cardinals’ Chandler Jones (122).
Re-signing Mack to a long-term deal will be one of the team’s most important tasks this offseason. His original five-year deal will come to an end after the 2018 season, when he’s due to make more than $13.8 million.