Khalil Mack may have had a down year from a sack production standpoint in 2019, but he was still plenty impactful for the Bears’ defense.
By all accounts, Mack still made his presence known in opposing backfields. Even with Akiem Hicks gone for most of the year and very few regular contributors to take focus away from the five-time Pro Bowl edge rusher on passing downs, Mack placed in the top 10 in numerous important statistical categories.
#Bears EDGE Khalil Mack didn't reach double-digit sacks in 2019, but he still had a great year:— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) May 22, 2020
- 30 hurries (2nd in the league)
- 45 pressures (8th)
- 5 forced fumbles (4th)
- 12th-highest pass-rushing win rate
Entering 2020, Mack will have a healthy Hicks rushing alongside him, as well as veteran edge rusher Robert Quinn, who on paper should provide a massive upgrade over Leonard Floyd. Given the talent around him, as well as his own individual abilities, and the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year figures to be a strong candidate to win the award again this year.
Mack is going into the 2020 season with the third-highest odds to win the NFL’s DPOY. He trails just Aaron Donald, who won the award in both 2017 and 2018, and Nick Bosa, who took the league by storm by winning Defensive Rookie of the Year last season. Rounding out the top five are T.J. and J.J. Watt, with the younger Watt brother having higher odds.
Out of the 94 defensive players with listed odds, Akiem Hicks is the only other Bears player on the board, placing 77th with +16667 odds. Contributors like Eddie Jackson, Kyle Fuller and Robert Quinn are among notable snubs from Chicago’s roster.
Defensive Player of the Year voting has been kind to pass rushers, as seven of the award’s last 10 winners saw the majority of their statistical production come from sacks. The latest odds are certainly reflective of that, seeing how all five of the players with top-five odds are known for their pass-rushing prowess. When expanding to see the top 10, just two players—incumbent winner Stephon Gilmore and Derwin James—are not either edge rushers or defensive linemen.
If Mack were to win Defensive Player of the Year, he would become the ninth player in NFL history to win the award more than once. While he faces stiff competition, he has certainly proven himself as one of the best defenders in the league. All things considered, he stands a good chance to end up as one of the top finalists for the award when all is said and done.