Finding an MVP for the Raiders first half was not a slam dunk. Unfortunately it’s because everyone is underachieving so far this year. Among those underachieving players, one stands out. It’s the player you may have expected.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year is not on pace to compete for the award again. He may not even be on pace to be named an All Pro. But there’s no doubt he is still one of the best players in the NFL and certainly the best player on the Raiders.
At a position judged heavily by sack numbers, he has 4.5 of them which leads the team. He is on pace for single digit sacks for the first time since his 2014 rookie season. Then again, Mack has always been known for putting up his biggest numbers in the second half of the season.
There’s no question the Raiders are terrible on both sides of the ball. Mainly because Mack is unable to carry the team on his back. He puts forth a valiant effort though. He leads the Raiders’ front seven with 42 combined tackles (32 solo), and leads the team with 9 tackles for loss, 12 QB hits, and 4.5 sacks.
With the offense lighting up the league last season, Derek Carr was the team MVP. He was even in the running for league MVP late in the season. And when he was lost to a broken leg, the team fell apart.
This season, Carr is struggling and it becomes pretty obvious the man who took the top defensive award last season stands alone as the Raiders’ MVP midway through 2017.