Since he entered the league, Chicago Bears’ outside linebacker Khalil Mack has been considered by many as the best pass rusher in the NFL. The three-time All-Pro and 2016 Defensive Player of the Year has amassed 21 sacks and 11 forced fumbles since being traded to Chicago in 2018. Over the past three seasons, he is even top-five in total sacks across the entire NFL, putting him in very elite company.
You might wonder, how can anybody think Khalil Mack regressed? When looking at the sack numbers, it’s easy to see why. Mack burst onto the scene immediately with Chicago in 2018, recording 12.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and ten tackles for loss with a defensive touchdown in his very first game against the Green Bay Packers. However, in 2019 those numbers dropped to 8.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and eight tackles for loss. Many look to Mack’s high price when reviewing his stats, with some even wondering if the Raiders got the better end of the deal. While there seems to be a significant decline when viewed on paper, perhaps advanced statistics can paint a different picture.
According to Pro Football Reference, Mack was second in the NFL in QB hurries with 30, trailing only Aaron Donald. Mack and Donald were also near the bottom of the league in missed tackles, each with six. With injuries to key contributors on defense like Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan, Mack was garnering significantly more attention by offensive coordinators, yet he continued to terrorize quarterbacks into rushed decisions. One could even argue that it played into the Bears’ defensive scheme, as players like Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson reaped the benefits of forced throws. Mack also ranked seventh in the NFL with 45 pressures, once again highlighting that his disruption isn’t exclusive to a stat sheet.
What do you think? Did Khalil Mack regress in 2019 or was his dip in numbers a result of a beat-up front seven? Cast your vote below.