For the fifth straight year, Khalil Mack has been named to the NFL Top 100 list.
Having made an appearance every year since 2015 as a member of the Raiders, the All-Pro edge rusher was placed at No. 3 after his first year with the Bears. He missed two games due to injury and played hurt in one of them, but he still tallied 12.5 sacks—the second-highest total of his career—47 tackles, 18 quarterback hits, and 10 tackles for a loss.
From the moment the Bears acquired Mack, it was apparent that the team’s defense would be taken to another level. Though the unit was one of the stronger defensive groups in the league before the trade, he gave them the one factor they lacked: a top-end edge rusher. After his acquisition, Chicago’s defense was ranked the No. 1 DVOA unit in the league. They also placed No. 1 in takeaways, points per game allowed, and third in sacks and total yards allowed.
Mack’s impact goes well beyond the stat sheet, though. As one of the most prolific defensive players in the league, his presence alone opens up opportunities for his teammates. The recipient of numerous double- and triple-team blocks, his being on the field allows the likes of Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd to take on one-on-one blocks. His dominance as a pass rusher also forces opposing quarterbacks to panic and make lackluster throws in a collapsing pocket: a major catalyst in the All-Pro seasons of Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller.
Mack’s appearance marks the highest ranking ever by a Bears player, as well as the first player the team has had ranked in the top five. He is also the first player to reach the top 10 since Julius Peppers in 2011, who was tenth in the first edition of the NFL Top 100 list. This ranking is also a personal best for Mack, whose previous best finish was fifth in 2017. He joins the likes of Hicks, Jackson, and Fuller on the list, the most selections Chicago has had since they had five in 2013—the team also had five in 2014, but one of them was Jared Allen, who made the list for his season with the Vikings. The Bears only had one player make the list in the prior four editions of the Top 100: Matt Forte in 2015.