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Aaron Donald beats out Khalil Mack, CJ Mosley to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Honors are happening tonight. The Raiders had one award for which they had a player as a candidate. It was Khalil Mack for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. That honor was taken home by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Donald, Mack, and C.J. Mosley were the three most viable candidates for this award. Donald finished with 25 votes, Mosley with 18, and Mack with six. There are arguments that could be made in favor of Mack winning it. And they don't get much more definitive than the numbers Pro Football Focus put out on him this season. Mack was the highest graded player at ANY position behind only MVP candidate and lock for his second straight Defensive Player of the Year Award, J.J. Watt.

Here are Mack's and Donald's PFF lines next to each other.

Pos rank Name Snaps Grade Rush Cover Run Sacks QB hits Hurries Bats Tkls Asst Stops
1 Khalil Mack 1034 56.4 8.1 0.3 47.4 4 10 40 3 61 10 48
1 Aaron Donald 723 34.5 16.9 1.5 15.7 9 6 28 2 31 10 36

The only area where Donald had better numbers than Mack were sacks. Nine sacks are impressive for a defensive tackle but if you Consider the fact that Donald had the likes of elite pass rushers Robert Quinn and Chris Long to take pressure off of him, it isn't quite as impressive. Mack was far and away the best player on the Raiders defense with all double teams going to him.

Additionally, defensive tackles are supposed to have good run defense scores. And that is the area where Mack -- an outside linebacker -- destroyed Donald in every statistic and grading. Mack's only poor grade of the season was the finale when he was hobbled by a hamstring strain.

Donald is deserving of such an award. Mack was as well. Perhaps even more so by some measurements. But that's just how these things go sometimes.