Chicago Bears: Has the NFL forgotten about Khalil Mack?
Let’s just start this off with something I really haven’t heard in the news lately: Khalil Mack is really good at football. Okay, now that we got that out of the way, it’s fascinating that since around 2019-2020, the NFL has seemed to forget about the Chicago Bears defensive stud Khalil Mack.
What happened to the Chicago Bears outside linebacker, Khalil Mack?
Have his numbers dropped since the Chicago Bears defense put up historic numbers in 2018? That was a year to remember. Sure, but if you look at those numbers, the whole defense has dropped in efficiency. To say Khalil Mack is no longer “good” is just a bad take. To say Khalil Mack didn’t yield results in 2019 would be a more accurate take. However, Khalil Mack is back.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Mack finished with the 1st overall PFF grade among edge defenders, so that must mean he’s doing something right. The two other players wrapping up the top three were T.J. Watt and Joey Bosa.
The four categories given a PFF grade were defense, rush defense, pass rush, and coverage. Out of those four, Khalil only stepped off 1st place for coverage, where Joey Bosa won out of the three named.
The grading for these three players went as follows:
Khalil Mack (1)
DEF: 92.5 (1st); RDEF: 92.0 (1st); PRUSH: 90.8 (1st); COV: 66.9 (8th)
T.J. Watt (2)
DEF: 91.6 (2nd); RDEF: 90.3 (2nd); PRUSH: 90.5 (2nd); COV: 67.8 (6th)
Joey Bosa (3)
DEF: 90.2 (3rd); RDEF: 83.1 (5th); PRUSH: 90.5 (2nd); COV: 74.8 (1st)
In order to see how Mack has progressed throughout the last few years, let’s look at his numbers on paper from 2018 to present day. That way it can be seen whether Khalil Mack has actually progressed, regressed or stayed the same.
"2018 Regular Season Stats Solo Tackles: 26 (T-27th), Assists: 4 (T-68th), Sacks: 13 (T-7th),Forced Fumbles: 6 (T-2nd)2019 Regular Season Stats Solo Tackles: 34 (T-16th), Assists: 5 (T-47th), Sacks: 9 (T-21st), and Forced Fumbles: 4 (T-4th)2020 Regular Season Stats Solo Tackles: 27 (T-30th), Assists: 18 (1st), Sacks: 10 (T-8th), and Forced Fumbles: 3 (T-8nd)"
As both the numbers say and fans remember, 2019 wasn’t the best year for Khalil Mack. In every year except two since he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2014, Khalil Mack has been a force to be reckoned with. Outside of 2017 and 2019, Mack has ranked in the top three edge defenders in the league according to PFF’s grading.
While Khalil Mack doesn’t put up many top-10 statistics, I think it goes beyond the paper when grading a guy like Mack. Not many offensive coordinators sleep well when they know their game plan is strongly tied to neutralizing Khalil Mack.
Now, let’s turn a No. 1 PFF Grade into a Lombardi Trophy, eh Chicago Bears?