We all know the Raiders had a down year and most of the players’ stats reflect that. But one thing I didn’t expect to see was a fickle opinion of the man who just a season ago was named Defensive Player of the Year and landed at the number six spot in Pro Football Focus’s Top 101.
PFF is back with their Top 101 NFL players for 2018 and now they somehow they think 30 NFL players are better than Khalil Mack.
Khalil Mack took a step back in 2017, much like the rest of the Oakland Raiders who, as a group, under-performed this season. Mack’s overall grade of 92.1 was still incredible however, and even if it falls short of the standards he set over the past two years, 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 Elite Stat: Mack ranked sixth among edge defenders in run-stop percentage with a mark of 11.2
The funny thing is even by their own stats, Mack is easily a top ten NFL player. He led all edge defenders with 53 stops along with an astounding 78 total pressures and once again notched double digit sacks (10.5), even while he continued to get little help from the Raiders interior defensive line.
At this point PFF has only counted down to number 26, but they already have two edge defenders placed ahead of Mack in Brandon Graham (27) and Joey Bosa (28).
They are clearly experiencing a ‘prisoner of the moment’ situation with Graham after his huge strip on Tom Brady which helped seal the Eagles’ Super Bowl win over the Patriots. And don’t get me wrong, we are all worshipping at the altar of Graham for that. But he had 18 fewer pressures (60) and a sack less (9.5) than Mack during the regular season.
Bosa too had fewer pressures (75) and sacks (8.5) than Mack. Bosa may not even be the best pass rusher on his own team. Melvin Ingram had more sacks (10.5) which takes a lot of pressure off of Bosa on the other side.
It will be interesting to see who they think is worthy of the top 25 ahead of Mack. Those will be revealed Thursday. No other Raiders have made the Top 101 so far and with Mack this low, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s it for this year.